Fishermen use cheap gas to violate protected areas

The subsidized fuel Incopesca had given to fishermen only strengthen their illegal activity.

This is reported by the Audit Department of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications (Minaet) requested by René Castro, head of the ministry.

The document reveals that the fuel has been used for other purposes, such as entry into protected areas, the resale and even drug trafficking.

In the past seven years (2006-2012), Incopesca has awarded $ 112 million in grants, according to the audit.

Fishing activity, not sport, receives from the Costa Rican Oil Refinery gasoline and diesel at a competitive price and unique tax exempt (from 20% to 30%).

The Costa Rican Institute of Fishing and Aquaculture (Incopesca), an entity under the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), is responsible for the administration and control of efficient use of hydrocarbons.

As detailed in the Audit, subsidized fuel consumption, increased in the last five years. In 2008, were consumed 26.6 million liters and this year an estimated 36.3 million.

The study indicates that there has been “wasteful and weak controls by the Incopesca to provide this benefit to fishermen” and criticizes the Incopesca by the “poor supervision and lack of studies to verify the proper use of fuel for domestic fishing fleet not sport “.

Double Luis, president of Incopesca, rejected the claim and said: “It is an audit that does not handle the issue and its information is superficial. These are reviews of environmental and remain part of a campaign that has continued against the fisheries sector positions. Minaet has no competition. ”

Minaet claims that many fishermen use fuel exonerated illegal incursions, to conduct fishing in marine protected areas and nevertheless Incopesca impunity reigns and does not punish them.

Precisely, the report indicates that between 2010 and 2011 there were 142 boats incursions at Cocos Island National Park and “no evidence of fishermen sanctions against offenders.”

Rene Castro considers that the State gave a benefit that had negative effects, so “perverse incentives that have been given to illegal fishing should be corrected.”

“We send the report to an executive committee, because we believe that the amount ($ 112 million) is important enough to make a periodic review, correct incentives and to improve the use of resources for the same sector,” he said.