Government said shrimp fishermen subsidies reach 118 million colons

The government’s main social welfare agency said Thursday that it has spent 188 million colons, about $355,000, providing help to unemployed shrimp fishermen and their families.

The agency, the Instituto Mixto de Ayuda Social, said there were 545 families involved. Some 500 are in Puntarenas and 45 are in Guanacaste, it said

These are the fishing crews and their families that have been forbidden to trawl for shrimp by an August 2013 Sala IV constitutional court decision. The court cited environmental reasons.

The central government has been trying to pass a bill that gets

around the court decision, and environmentalists generally support the prohibition because trawling damages coral and kills many unwanted fish and even turtles.

The Instituto Costarricense de Pesca y Acuicultura, was told not to issue any more licenses and to allow existing ones to expire.

At the time the estimate was that there were 27 active licenses but not all were being used.

There still are plenty of shrimp in the marketplace, and some street vendors even sell them despite the health considerations that presents.

The Instituto Mixto said that each family of shrimp fishermen is getting 115,000 colons a month, about $217.

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