AMERICA/COSTA RICA - Fishing bans by the Institute of Fisheries: Thousands of fishing families without a living

Monday, 13 June 2022

San José (Agenzia Fides) - The Bishops of Costa Rica are deeply concerned about the difficulties faced by the fishing communities in the provinces of Puntarenas and Guanacaste on the Nicoya Gulf, following the total ban on all commercial fishing activities in this area of the country. A corresponding ban was recently issued according to the technical criteria of the Costa Rican Institute for Fisheries and Aquaculture (INCOPESCA). "We call on the new government," the bishops write in their statement, "to implement a comprehensive approach towards our fishing communities, above all respecting their cultural identity and developing initiatives aimed at human promotion, overcoming welfare assistance which, while responding to a an immediate need, does not represent a solution. In addition, the effectiveness of technical regulations such as the total ban and the very high level of precariousness among the thousands of fishermen who carry out their activity irregularly, without a permit or fishing license must be verified". The text, signed by the Presidency of the Episcopal Conference of Costa Rica, which specifically mentions Bishop Fernández Guillén of the Diocese of PuntarenasÓscar and Bishop Daniel Francisco Blanco Méndez, in charge of the apostolate of the sea in Costa Rica, emphasizes that "the work of the people on sea is exhausting and does not always receive the reward for the efforts made". Aware of "the need to take action to conserve marine species that are of commercial interest," the bishops commend the state's three-month financial support to 1,430 fishermen. They recall the commitment of the Apostolate of the Sea (Stella Maris) in Costa Rica, the Pastoral Care of the People of the Sea of the Diocese of Puntarenas and the Pastoral Council of the Parish of St. Jude Tadeo in Chomes, which together address the socio-economic vulnerability of coastal populations and the impact that these actions entail: "Many families are without economic support as their livelihood depends on fishing or shellfish farming, only a very small percentage of families receive state subsidies and, above all, there is a lack of alternative employment opportunities to fishing activities," the bishops said . At the end of their message, the bishops appeal to the goodwill of Costa Ricans, especially charitable and economic organizations, to show their solidarity also by collecting food donations to be distributed to the affected population. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 13/6/2022)