Recreational angling is celebrating the passing of the Tuna Reform Law in Costa Rica.
After three years of campaigning, the new legislation bans the netting of tuna within 80 miles of the shoreline, almost twice the previous distance.
“This is great news,” said the Costa Rican Sport Fishing Federation (FECOP). “The incidental bycatch by tuna nets includes many key species including marlin, sailfish, dorado, wahoo, shark and manta rays.”
“The limit was increased from 12 miles to 45 in 2014, and sport fishing since then has made an ‘amazing recovery’, except for sailfish, catches of which have decreased.
“Now, with 80 miles along the entire Pacific coast free of purse seine boats, it opens many possibilities for the future of Costa Rica fishing,” added FECOP, which for the past three years has been compiling new data and lobbying congress to support the proposed law.
Costa Rica was once known as the sailfish capital of the world, but has surrendered that title to Guatemala due to commercial fishing’s impact on numbers. A 2018 study put the value of sport fishing to the Costa Rican economy at more than $500m.