The Costa Rican fishing sector has a great social and economic importance as a source of foreign exchange but above all for its contribution to employment in marginal and economically depressed areas such as the coastal areas of the country. The second most important fishery by catch volume is that of longliners of various sizes, many of which fish outside the 12-mile limit; the larger ones up to 24-meters long usually fish outside the Costa Rican EEZ. According to INCOPESCA (2012), some 522 vessels are registered in this fishery. Costa Rican longliners use some 17 private docks and one state-owned.
According to INCOPESCA (2012), some 522 vessels are registered in this fishery. Costa Rican longliners use some 17 private docks and one state-owned.
Country Project Objectives
The objective of this project in Costa Rica is to expand synergies and the participation of domestic and international stakeholders in product value chains. It will thus focus on creating conditions for improving supply of sustainable fishery products from Costa Rica, through the development of a sustainable marine product platform comprised primarily of public and private stakeholders in the value chain, as well as other interested parties. The goal is to put in place conditions for supplying sustainable fishery products. Platform participants will gain experience through the development of fishery improvement projects for tuna, swordfish and mahi mahi fisheries.
This initiative has the following goals:
- Facilitate a forum for intersectoral and interinstitutional coordination and cooperation to consolidate a National Action Plan guiding joint coordination and implementation (by government, companies, fishers, civil society, and academia) of large pelagics fisheries
- Promote demonstration fishery improvement projects (FIPs) on best practices for large pelagics fisheries, as well as fishery certification schemes
- Develop a system for implementing and monitoring social and environmental improvements in large pelagics fishery
- Help position Costa Rica as a country committed to responsible fishing, and ensure access to the international market for its fishery products
Supported Fishery Improvement Projects (FIP)
Fisheries Improvement Project for Tuna, Swordfish and Dorado
The multi-species longline fishery targeting highly migratory large pelagic species as tuna, swordfish and mahimahi,is of crucial importance in Costa Rica. Average annual landings in the last 10 years (2006-2016) account for approximately 1000 metric tons (mt) of yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), 800 mt of swordfish (Xiphias gladius) and around 1500 mt of mahi-mahi (Coryphaena hippurus), a species for which availability has significantly dropped in the last four years. Costa Rican commercial fleets mainly use surface longlines as fishing gear.
Approximately 350 vessels are registered, ranging from 12 m to 25 m in length. The main Pacific fishing communities for these species are Cuajiniquil, Puntarenas, Quepos and Golfito. Large pelagic species are a key part of the seafood sector in Costa Rica, providing livelihoods to coastal communities of the Pacific. It is the most important part of the seafood sector in the country for international markets – specifically the US markets, which imports 80% of the landed volume.
Several species of tuna, billfish, and sharks, among others, are primary and secondary species, and the olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) is the most present endangered, threatened and protected (ETP) species in this fishery.
See more information about the FIP : Fisheries Project for Tuna, Swordfish and Dorado in Costa Rica