The Panama Republic is a relatively small country in surface (75,000 Km2), but has a substantial biological potential as seafood producing country thanks to its geographic location. Panama coasts add up to 2,988 kilometers, 1,700 in the Pacific and 1,288 in the Caribbean. The continental shelf has an extension of 250,900 Km2 and the Exclusive Economic Zone reaches 319,188 Km2
The fishing activity in Panama occurs mostly in the Pacific Ocean with 95%, where also 80% of the populations inhabits. The Gulf of Panama upwelling during the dry season is the basis for the relevant fishing activities in the Panamanian waters.
The industrial fishing operates in the Pacific Ocean and focus on shrimp, small pelagics for reduction, tuna, dolphin fish and finfish species, being the export markets the main objective. The industrial shrimp fishery is one of the main economic activities for Panama. This activity started in the 1950 with 50 vessels growing up to 307 in the 1980’s. For 2004 Panama had registered 249 industrial vessels with shrimp fishing license which diminished to 170 in 2005. Currently, due the low yields, the number of shrimp vessels is below 150.
The Panama shrimp fishery is a multispecific fishery being the Western white shrimp the most important in volume and value, followed by the Crystal and Fidel shrimps. The fishery has been for years the most important in terms of income, revenue and jobs generated. However, after years of excessive fishing effort and the noncompliance with the management measures have placed the shrimp populations in critical status resulting in decreasing landings which, combined with the weaknesses of the international market and the increasing producing costs, difficult the design and implementation of harvest strategies and harvest control rules aimed at recovering the stocks to sustainable levels, mitigate the fishery environmental impacts and to satisfy the increasing demands for social and environmental responsibility in the markets for the Panamanian production.
The Panama Republic is a relatively small country in surface (75,000 Km2), but has a substantial biological potential as seafood producing country thanks to its geographic location.
The goal of the Panama shrimp bottom trawl FIP is to strengthen the harvest strategy, related harvest control rules and the management system to reach, for the fall of 2024, a minimum score of 60-79 for all the principles performance indicators for the MSC Standard.
Project outcomes for 2024 are:
- To establish a fishery monitoring and data collection program to document and evaluate the fishery impacts to biodiversity.
- To develop a management strategy to mitigate the fishery impacts on secondary and PET species.
- To promote, the development and publication of a robust and comprehensive stock assessment for the three target species.
- To Promote, the development and implementation of a harvest strategy and control rules for the fishery.
- To promote updates to the national fishery regulatory to meet the sustainability standards internationally accepted.