New team tries to stop illegal export of sailfish

A new equipment donated to the National Animal Health Service (SENASA) tries to stop the export of sailfish, thanks to DNA evidence that they practiced the product.
The commercialization outside of this species of weevils (Istiophorusplatypterus) is prohibited three years ago. However, if is frozen, smoked fillets,can be confused with other fish, such as tuna.

The association gave to Senasa ProNature over a year ago a ‘nanodrop’ to quantify DNA, a thermal cycler for PCR testing and documenting of gels to analyze nucleic acids.
Before having the new tool, it was almost impossible for veterinarians authorized by SENASA, determine if in containers had sailfish during inspections at a glance.

Indeed, with the donated equipment were found in the last year and a half, two national companies that tried to transporting 15,000 kilos of sailfish as if they were of another species.

In these two cases, the federation of fishing sailfish knew it was sailfish through DNA analysis conducted to sample the product. For this can only need five cubic millimeters of tissue.

Enrique Ramirez, director of the Costa Rican Fisheries Federation, said: “As before there was no identification of the DNA sequence, nobody noticed.”

The positive result would stop exports, would confiscate the fish and open a criminal case against the company and management.

Heiner Mendez, legal director of the Costa Rican Fisheries and Aquaculture (Incopesca), said there are two cases in the prosecution for the seizure of 7,000 kilos of sailfish in Barreal de Heredia in April 2011, and 8,000 kilos in a container Limon that were going to the Dominican Republic in July.

Mendez said that the fine for sailfish export is up to 25 basic salaries (about ¢ 9,000,000).

This species was declared in April 2005 as tourist-sports, according to the Law on Fisheries and Aquaculture.

To the biologist Ana Gloria Guzman, longline fishing type (rope) is affecting much migratory populations including sailfish.

For this reason, the Incopesca prohibited by the 2009 agreement that species fishing with live bait. Nonetheless, if examples of sailfish caught by catch, they can not exceed 15% of the total catch and may be marketed only to the internal.

Experts agree that the added value of sailfish when it is alive is much greater than if it is dead.

Enrique Ramirez argues that a sailfish kilo sells for ¢ 1,400 on the street, while Universidad de Costa Rica gives a value of $ 3,000 live jobs and tourism it generates.

“Although this species is of tourist interest, it is marketed. There are no controls. Incopesca not have enough staff to many ships, “he said.

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