As sports fishermen take to the Pacific today there are about 2.8 tons of sailfish they will not catch.
The fish, which are protected in part for their benefit to tourism, were confiscated by members of the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas when they saw them being offloaded onto a sandy beach in Caldera.
The unloading was from a large Nicaraguan tuna fishing vessel in the Gulf of Nicoya, and the procedure appeared to be designed to avoid the requirement to unload catches at government docks for inspection.
A small boat was being used to bring the fish to shore for eventual transport in a nearby truck. The Ministerio de Seguridad Pública
said that sailfish, pez vela in Spanish, are regulated due to their scientific and tourism interests.
Sports fishermen practice catch and release, so the dead fish represented many lost hours of enjoyment for tourists.
The ministry said that the fish were being placed on a beach with no regard for sanitation. An inspector from the Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal declared the fish unfit for human consumption, said the ministry. The fish totaled 2,572 kilos.
Failing to unload at a government dock only is punishable by a fine, but the ministry said that the local prosecutor ordered the coast guard to take custody of the foreign tuna boat for investigation. The crewmen also confiscated the small launch.