Impunity promotes fishing in prohibited area of ​​Isla del Coco

The March 24, 2010, at 6:47 a. m., park rangers of Cocos Island intercepted the fishing boat “Chaday I”, and notified the captain not to return without permission to cross the boundaries of the protected area. If not it would be criminally prosecuted for disobeying authority.

Since then, the captain has failed 12 times the order not to sail within 12 nautical miles around the island, but he has never been intercepted in the act of illegal fishing.

In that area, is denied entry and stay of all types of boats, by Executive Decree No. 30838-MINAET.

The last time “Chaday I” went there was on April 6 of this year. A judge issued an injunction only for the boat not to approach 40 nm. Captain accumulates several complaints to the Office of Puntarenas, but none has gone to trial.

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

The Fishing and Aquaculture Law prohibits the practice of commercial fishing and recreational fishing in national parks. Article 153 imposes a fine of 20 to 70 base salaries 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. This impunity is one of the factors favoring illegal fishing in the area.

Sergio Valdelomar, agricultural-environmental deputy prosecutor, said that circulation without permission in a protected area is not a crime.

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

However, Sergio considered that if there are allegations that can not prove as a crime, at the administrative level can process them and impose sanctions.

These punishments could mean administrative sanctions such as the suspension of the exemption of fuel and loss of license. According to records of the Costa Rican Fishing and Aquaculture (Incopesca), 10 of the 17 boats that violated the restriction still receive fuel at a preferential price.

Luis Peraza, director of Incopesca, clarified that there is no administrative penalties for boats entering the restricted area.

In the first nine months of the year, rangers made 47 findings: 202 miles of fishing line, hooks 4986, 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 as yellowfin tuna (77), green turtle (4), goldfish (2), scalloped hammerhead (2). However, another 67 species not had the same lucky. For example, died five sharks foxes (endangered species), 21 yellowfin tuna, 16 cortez rainbow, etc.

“The lacks and needs in protected areas every day are more, and the technology is obsolete,” said the director of the Cocos Island.

Currently, the national park has the boats: Cocos Patrol, Faico II, and four inflatable boats. Of the total of 21 rangers, 11 are devoted to the control program and protecting the island. From January to September, there were 775 hours of patrol boats with the help of NGOs. In all, they traveled 3498 miles for 154 nautical patrols. The Cocos Patrol has a radar to detect vessels during patrols, but need to have a radar installed on the island with greater reach.