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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Does Impunity ENCOURAGES Fishing in the Prohibited Area of ​​Cocos Island

I'm STILL trying hard to understand how things work in Costa Rica - First off, what is the difference between a "Decree" and a "Law"?   Another question - I've seen NUMEROUS times when some of these fishermen/boats have been "arrested" or given a fine, only to be let go because they had no prior charges against them.  So, IF they are let go, they no longer have "charges against them" si?  So how MANY times do they let this game go on in Costa Rica?  What's to stop them from playing this game for MANY MANY infractions?????  So WHO is actually looking out for the animals, which effect the sea, which effects the PEOPLE of Costa Rica???????????   Is Costa Rica PROTECTING these fishermen•companies and if so - WHY??????  Is it just local "officials" not doing anything about it?  What•Who GAINS from NOT arresting them???

SUMMARY:  Despite stopping 16 boats in the Cocos Island protected area, no ship crews have received any type of administrative or criminal punishment. According to the administrator of the island, all of the fishing boats believe they are IMMUNE to any sort of punishment, and many still receive fuel subsidized by the Costa Rican government.

ENGLISH TRANSLATION (via Translate.Google.com):

Does Impunity ENCOURAGE Fishing in the Prohibited Area of ​​Cocos Island

On March 24, 2010, at 6:47am, Cocos Island ranger intercepted "the Chaday" - a fishing boat and warned the captain to not pass without permission because of the restrictions on the protected area. If not, they would be criminally prosecuted for disobeying authority.

Since then, the captain has failed (I think they are saying IGNORED) 12 TIMES, the order not to sail within 12 nautical miles around the island, and they STILL have NEVER been intercepted in the act of illegal fishing.

According to Executive Decree No. 30838-MINAET - This area is a deny entry and stay of ALL types of vessels.

The last time I went there (April 6, 2012), Chaday was there. A judge issued an injunction ONLY that the boat not approach (within?) 40nm (not sure what they're saying here as 40 nautical miles equals over 46 miles which seems mighty far??). Captain has received several complaints from the Office of Puntarenas, but none has gone to trial.

On Friday, La Nacion tried to talk to the captain of the Chaday I, but his wife said that he was at sea and would not return for weeks.

As of that case, another 16 ships have been intercepted without permission within marine protected and have been denounced/accused of piracy, shark finning, disobedience and others.

The Ley de Pesca y Acuicultura (Fisheries and Aquaculture) Act prohibits the exercise of commercial fishing and recreational fishing in national parks. Article 153 imposes a fine of 20 to 70 times the base salary and the cancellation of the respective license who authorizes or carrying on the business of commercial and sport fishing in protected areas.

Neither ship has received administrative punishment or criminal. Such impunity is one of the factors favoring illegal fishing in the area.

"They think they're immune and that the arm of the law is not going to do anything. Therefore they disrespect area boundaries," said Geiner Golfín, administrator of the island.

Sergio Valdelomar, fiscal adjunto agrario-ambiental (agricultural-environmental) deputy prosecutor, said that circulation without permission in a protected area is not a crime.

In the case of disobedience to authority whose maximum prison sentence is 3 years - the precautionary measures imposed are minimal by the principle of proportionality.

However, Valdelomar considered that although there are allegations that you can not prove a crime, the administrative level can process them and impose sanctions.

Such punishments could mean administrative sanctions such as the suspension of the exemption from fuel and loss of license. According to records of  Instituto Costarricense de Pesca y Acuicultura (Incopesca - the Costa Rican Institute of Fishing and Aquaculture - www.incopesca.go.cr [note, their web masters screwed up in the formatting - forcing you to put the www. first or it will come up as an invalid site]), 10 of the 17 boats that violated the restriction STILL receive fuel at a preferential (CHEAPER) price.

Luis Peraza, director of Incopesca, clarified that they have issued no administrative penalties for vessels entering the restricted area. "They are innocent until proven guilty is us. A boat may be doing an innocent thing and was caught performing illegal, that this crime would configure itself, "he said.

Magnet fishing. Geiner Golfín explained that the ships violate the protected zone of Cocos Island to install longline fishing line type (afloat) and leave. At one point, the dynamics of the current teams expect to pick them out.

The 12 nautical miles around the island are like a magnet for fishermen because that many species converge here, attracted by the nutrients, providing food and protection from the island.

"Cocos Island is a hotbed, is the genesis of the Pacific Ocean, is a point that gives life and no interaction between fish communities," said Golfín.

In the first nine months of the year, rangers made 47 findings: 202 miles of fishing line, hooks 4986, 6444 gacillas, 1627 buoys. The longest line measured 18.5 kilometers and found a line had 349 hooks set.

In these teams, they were able to rescue and release 93 individuals - yellowfin tuna (77), green turtle (4), goldfish (2), scalloped hammerhead (2). However, 67 other people were not so lucky. For example, sharks killed five endangered foxes, 21 yellowfin tuna, 16 cortez rainbow, etc.

Resources. "The gaps and needs in protected areas are ever increasing and we need to get on the cutting edge of technology because we will desfazando" said the director of the Cocos Island, Geiner Golfín.Actualmente, the national park has Cocos Patrol boats, Faico II, and four inflatable boats. Of the total of 21 rangers, 11 are devoted to the control program and protection of isle.   January to September, there were 775 hours of patrol boats with the help of NGOs. In total, they walked 3498 miles over 154 nautical patrols. Explained that the Cocos Golfín Patrol has a radar to detect vessels during patrols, but you must have a radar installed on the island with greater reach (for it to work?).

SOURCE (and the FULL story in Español):  
DAVID DELGADO C. nacion.com david.delgado @ 12:00 AM 16/10/2012


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