Envirnmental groups hopeful in effort to end shrimp trawling

A coalition of environmental groups is hopeful that its case against shrimp trawling will advance because the Sala IV constitutional court has taken an interest.

One of the members of the Coalition, the Programa Restauración de Tortugas Marinas, said that the constitutional court has given the nation’s fisheries institute and the nation’s environmental agency three days to respond to allegations.

The Instituto Costarricense de Pesca y Acuicultura regulates the fishing industry. The other agency, the Secretaría Técnica Nacional Ambiental, is part of the Ministerio de Ambiente, Energía y Telecomunicaciones.

The coalition argues that shrimp trawling lacks environmental assessments. The coalition has as its goal to end the practice.

Trawling can damage coral, trap many fish unintentionally and also trap air-breathing turtles. The United States periodically
prohibits the importation of Costa Rican shrimp because of the turtle toll.

The coalition calls itself Our Oceans Front. It is made up of Fundación Keto, Fundación MarViva, Fundación Promar, International Student Volunteers, Inc., Sea Save Foundation, The Leatherback Trust, the Unidad Especial de Rescate y Protección Animal and the Widecast scientific network, as well as the Programa Restauración de Tortugas Marinas.

The coalition said that although an impact statement is not mandatory for trawling, the destructive results of the practice ought to be studied.

The coalition says it is a group of non-profit organizations active in Costa Rica that work towards the improvement of the administration of marine resources through a series of legal, scientific, political and civil approaches. It promotes the reform of the fishing institute in order for it to appropriately respond to the objectives for which it was created: the public interest and the sustainable use of fishery resources, it added.

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