Sports fishermen who sailed from Los Sueños Saturday ran into a seagoing surprise checkpoint.
Agents from the Instituto Costarricense de Pesca y Acuacultura and the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas were on duty just off shore checking paperwork.
The fishing institute characterized the effort as a sting operation. Marina Los Sueños on the central Pacific coast is in an upscale resort and can accommodate hundreds of boats. Many of the captains offer ocean sports fishing to tourists.
Edwin Salazar, director of the Departamento de Proteccion y Registro for the fishing institute, said the sting was successful.
The operation lasted five hours.
He said 29 boats were inspected. All of them had the proper licenses. But 10 were returned to the docks because of irregularities. The irregularities can consist of expired fishing identification cards, incorrect paperwork and other details.
The boats that returned to shore were allowed to go
out into the sea once the documentations were in order, he said.
A large operation isn’t common for the government institute, said Salazar. Because the agency has limited resources employees can’t fully function the way they would like. Salazar said the ideal would be to have inspectors every 50 meters, approximately 164 feet, along the coast to regulate the waters for proper fishing. Because of lack of funds and manpower the agency can’t function that way, he said.
The money made from the sale of the required fishing identification cards goes into the institute operating expenses.
Last year alone the institute raised more than 81.5 million colons, approximately $158,963. That is the combined amount of money from the sale of identification cards from the five main offices in the country.
The Quepos office sold 42 million colons worth, approximately $81,919. Puntarenas sold 22 million colons, approximately $42,910. The Guanacaste office sold 9 million colons, approximately $17,554, and Golfito sold 8 million colons, approximately $15,603. The Limón office sold half a million colons worth of identification cards for fishing. That is approximately $975.