Bill to ban the fishing of endangered shark goes back to the Plenary after Environmental Commission’s Approval

by | Oct 24, 2023

Bill returns to the Plenary with 5 favorable votes against 3.

(San José, Costa Rica – October 24, 2023)

The Environmental Comission of the Costa Rican Legislative Assembly approved a motion today to send Bill expediente 21.754 , that would ban the take of threatened shark species, back to the Plenary for a discussion and vote.

This bill had already been voted and approved by the Environmental Commission in 2021 and was waiting in line for a Plenary vote, but last August 22nd the Legislative Assembly voted to return the bill the Environmental Commission, under claims that its approval would be detrimental to the fishers of Puntarenas.

The following members of the Environmental Commission voted in favor of sending the bill back to the Plenary: Kattia Cambronero Aguiluz, of Partido Liberal Progresista, Ariel Robles Barrantes of Frente Amplio, and Katherine Moreira Brown, Oscar Izquierdo Sandí and Gilberth Jiménez Siles, of Partido Liberación Nacional.

According to congresswoman Cambronero Aguiluz, it would be surreal to turn our backs on the conservation of sharks, while the country waves the banner as a global environmental leader. “The bill is opposed by sectors that only seek an economic benefit for a few, in disregard to any scientific evidence whatsoever”, she added. “You can’t say you are protect the environment, when at the same time you are turning your back on marine ecosystems, don’t care about their fate, and allow them to overexploited without any regard or consideration. Congressman Robles Barrantes underscored that industrial fishing vessels that come from other countries to devastate our resources are the only ones raking in considerable profits. The following members of the Environmental Commission voted against the bill: Alexander Barrantes Chacón, of Partido Progreso Social Democrático, and Rosalía Brown Young and David Segura Gamboa of Nueva República.

Congressman Segura Gamboa claimed that the approval of this Bill would translate into the technical closure of the longline fishery and would leave 4500 people in Puntarenas jobless.

“If banning the take of sharks would cause the closure of the longline fishery, well then, that makes me wonder about the disproportionate devastation brought upon these species”, said congresswoman Cambronero Aguiluz. “If that claim is true, then we should study the behavior of this sector and determine if its really just abusing of the Fishery Institute’s limited capacity to perform research and exert controls”.

Both Cambronero Aguiluz and Robles Barrantes pointed out that the Fisheries Institute does not work towards the fisher’s interests, and they questioned its work as the Fisheries governing body charged with regulating fisheries activities in search of a balance between productivity and environmental sustainability.