Costa Rica large pelagics - longline and green stick

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Overview

The multi-species longline fishery targeting highly migratory large pelagic species as tuna, swordfish and mahi mahi, is of crucial environmental, social and economic importance in Costa Rica for coastal livelihoods and the processing and export industries. It is the most relevant seafood sector in the country for the international markets; specifically, the US, which imports 80% of the landed volume. Additionally, domestic consumption of these three species has increased recently. Costa Rican commercial fleet mainly uses surface longline as fishing gear and complementary a fiberglass pole is carrying on for green stick fishing. Approximately, 350 vessels are registered, ranging from 12 m to 25 m in length, denominated medium and advance. The main Pacific fishing communities for these species are Cuajiniquil, Puntarenas, Quepos and Golfito. This is a national FIP that encompasses the total medium and advance-type longline vessels fishing in the Pacific Ocean.

Several species of tunas, billfishes and sharks, among others, are primary and secondary species, and olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) is the most abundance endangered, threatened and protected species (ETP) of this fishery.

INCOPESCA is the institution that manages, regulates and promotes the development of the fishing and aquaculture sector with an ecosystem approach, under the principles of sustainability, social responsibility and competitiveness. The National Coast Guard System (SNG) is responsible for monitoring and surveillance at sea.

The main regulation instrument is the Fisheries and Aquaculture Law No. 8436 of 2005 and its Norm. INCOPESCA's highest institutional authority is the Board of Directors (Law 7384, the law creating the Costa Rican Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture) and its purpose is to direct and establish institutional policies for compliance with the laws governing the country's fisheries and aquaculture. Executive Decree No. 38681 MAG-MINAE for the management of tuna and tuna-like species in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Costa Rican Pacific Ocean establishes zoning and regulation for these species. The National Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Plan guides this sector.

Costa Rica is a member of the Organization of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector of the Central American Isthmus (OSPESCA), the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (CIAT) and the Inter-American Convention on the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles (IAC), which establishes binding resolutions and conservation measures in the country.

To improve the sustainability performance of this fishery, an alliance between Costa Rican Fishery and Aquaculture Institute (INCOPESCA), Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), producers, exporters, a group of US supply chain actors, and United Nation Development Program (UNDP) along with fisheries in Costa Rica have come together to start a Fishery Improvement Project. FIP will be led in country and receive support from market chain actors.

Lead FIP participants from Costa Rica are organized under a FIP working group included in the National Sustainable Fishery Platform for Large Pelagic, a multi-stakeholder dialogue forum facilitated by UNDP and participated by all national stakeholders linked to the large pelagic fisheries in country. The National FIP working group that will lead implementation of the project is composed by:

  • Costa Rican Fishery and Aquaculture Institute (INCOPESCA)
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG)
  • National Longline Fishing Sector: Cámara Nacional de la Industria Palangrera (CNIP); Cámara de pescadores artesanales de Puntarenas (CAPAP); Cámara de pescadores de Quepos; Cámara de pescadores de Guanacaste; Cámara de pescadores de Golfito; CAMAPUN; UNIPESCA. 
  • Exporters Association- CANEPP Cámara Nacional de Exportadores de Productos Pesqueros y Acuícolas (CANEPP)
  • MARTEC
  • FRUMAR
  • UNDP

Participants from the Supply Chain have organized under a Market Support Group. As such, US participants in the FIP, provide assistance to the project through financial support arising from a percentage of the sales. Market Support Group is formed by:

  • Chefs Trading
  • Trinity Seafood
  • Seattle Fish Company
  • Frequentz

The National Sustainable Fishery Platform for Large Pelagic is an initiative framed within the UNDP’s International Green Commodities Programme and the Global Sustainable Supply Chains for Marine Commodities, a joint programme implemented by UNDP and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), who has provided support and technical advice during FIP development.

FIP Description 

The multi-species longline fishery targeting highly migratory large pelagic species as tuna, swordfish and mahi mahi, is of crucial environmental, social and economic importance in Costa Rica for coastal livelihoods and the processing and export i

FIP Objective(s) 

The main objective of the FIP is making the fishery sustainable according to Marine Stewardship Council Fisheries Standard and aligned with Sustainable Development Goals by November 2023.

By 2023, this FIP aims to:

  • Define biological unit for mahi in the EPO and conducted the stock assessment.
  • Establish harvest control rules and strategy for mahi and swordfish in the EPO.
  • Improve data collection, monitoring and analysis of target, secondary and ETP species in the fishery.
  • Recognize traditional and local ecosystem knowledge and women's roles in the research, management and decision making of the fishery.
  • Mitigate environmental impact of longline and green stick fleet on the fishery.
  • Achieve an effective management by a participatory plan for the fishery agreed with all stakeholders.
  • Position the Costa Rican responsible fishing product from the FIP on the international and national market.
FIP Type 
Comprehensive
FIP Stage 
Stage 2: FIP Launch
Start and Projected End Dates
April 2019
April 2023
Species 
Common Name 
Yellowfin Tuna
Scientific Name 
Thunnus albacares
Additional Names 
Atún aleta amarilla
Common Name 
Mahi-mahi
Scientific Name 
Coryphaena hippurus
Additional Names 
Dorado
Common Name 
Swordfish
Scientific Name 
Xiphias gladius
Additional Names 
Pez espada
Gear Type 
Longline
Pole
Location
FAO Major Fishing Area
Area 77 (Pacific, Eastern Central)
Area 87 (Pacific, Southeast)
Exclusive Economic Zones
Country 
Costa Rica
Geographic Scope 
Eastern Pacific Ocean
Country Flag of Vessel 
Costa Rica
Regional Fisheries Management Organization
Volume
FIP Volume 
3,935 metric tons
Total Fishery Volume 
3,935 metric tons
Volume Date 
April 2019
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FIP at a Glance

43% 25% 29% 4%
April 01, 2019
43% 25% 29% 4%
Progress Rating

A - Advanced Progress
Reserved for comprehensive FIPs that have a Stage 4 or 5 result within the past 12 months.

B - Good Progress
A FIP that has achieved a Stage 4 or 5 in more than 12 months AND Stage 3 activity in the last year; OR a basic FIP that has achieved Stage 4 or 5 achievements within the past 12 months.

C - Some Recent Progress
A FIP that has achieved a Stage 4 or 5 result in more than 12 (but less than 24) months but has not generated a Stage 3 result within the past 12 months OR a FIP younger than a year that has never achieved a Stage 4 or 5 result but has completed a Stage 3 activity.

D - Some Past Progress
A FIP for which the most recent publicly reported Stage 4 or 5 result is more than 24 (but less than 30) months.

E - Negligible Progress
A FIP older than a year that has not reported a Stage 4 or 5 result in more than 30 month (but less than 36) months; OR a FIP younger than 1 year that has not reported a Stage 3 activity.

The ratings are currently derived by SFP from publicly available data on FIP websites, including FisheryProgress.org, and are determined using the following methodology: View PDF
Not yet available
Actions Complete
  • Complete
  • Incomplete
Target End Date
Apr 2023

FIP Leads

Organization Name 
United National Development Program (UNDP)
Organization Type 
Other
Primary Contact 
Sandra Andraka
Phone 
+506 83650845
Organization Name 
Organizaciones Pesqueras del Sector Palangrero Nacional
Organization Type 
Industry
Primary Contact 
Mauricio González
Organization Name 
Cámara Nacional de la Industria Palangrera (CNIP)
Organization Type 
Industry
Primary Contact 
Robert Nunes
Organization Name 
Cámara Nacional de Exportadores de Productos Pesqueros y Acuícolas (CANEPP)
Organization Type 
Industry
Primary Contact 
Ana Victoria Paniagua
Email 
Organization Name 
Instituto Costarricense de Pesca y Acuicultura (INCOPESCA) - Government
Organization Type 
Other
Primary Contact 
Alvaro Otárola / José Miguel Carvajal
Enter the public contact information for the leader of the FIP. This information will be displayed on FisheryProgress.org for users who want to contact the FIP.