Lawmakers cite discrepancies in tuna fishing permits

The Partido Acción Ciudadana Monday said that 122 commercial tuna fishing boats that operated in Costa Rican waters from 2008 to 2011 did so illegally.

The opposition political party said that it compared reports from the Instituto Costarricense de Pesca y Acuacultura, which said that 81 boats had licenses, with reports from a Central American commission  that said there were 193 boats fishing in territorial waters during that period.

A new release quoted lawmaker María Eugenia Venegas Renauld asking what the Costa Rican fishing authority is doing to avoid this.

Juan Carlos Mendoza García, another lawmaker, was quoted saying that the law is clear in that there are sanctions for boats that operate without permission.

He said he wondered how many boat captains had been fined, according to the same release.

The Comisión Interamericana de Pesca Tropical keeps track of these boats.

The lawmakers said they wanted a list from the Costa Rican authorities, mainly Luis Gerardo Dobles Ramírez, the head of the fishing institute, that showed boat names, nationalities and licenses.

Tuna fishing is a political hot potato because many boats end up killing dolphin in their nets when they bring in tuna. In addition, there are reports that much of the tuna taken from Costa Rica is offloaded in other countries.

Sports fishermen also have complained about the drastic decline of the top predator fish they seek in Costa Rican waters.

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