Sport Fishing Serious Business
Sport fishing in Costa Rica is more than just fun and games. There are rules to be taken seriously for reasons that are not as mutually exclusive as they might seem.
Most notably, recreational catch and release for marlin and sailfish is mandatory. In 2008, Costa Rica became the first country to make possession of a billfish by recreational anglers illegal. Regulations also prohibit the removal of a sailfish or marlin from the water for the purpose of taking a photo. Those in violation are subject to a fine of ₡2 million.
Anglers must also use circle hooks with natural bait and not the more lethal J-shaped hooks, which may only be used in artificial lures. The circle hook’s curved shape keeps it from catching in the fish’s gut cavity or throat and causing damage. Individuals found to be using anything but a circle hook can be fined or have their fishing license revoked.
Healthy oceans make for prosperous economies, and The Billfish Foundation has tangible evidence to guide policy-making decisions in that regard.
The Foundation’s groundbreaking studies of catch-and-release billfishing quantify the gains in terms of employment and tax revenue data, alongside the advancement of conservation goals. What some find surprising, according to the Foundation, is that Costa Rica’s sustainable recreational harvest contributes more to the economy than its subsidized commercial fishing industry.
One 2008 study showed North American tourists fishing in Costa Rica generated $599 million – or about two percent of the country’s gross domestic product. The same study found sport fishing generated almost $78 million in tax revenues for Costa Rica and 63,000 jobs.
To learn more about The Billfish Foundation and its research on the socioeconomic benefits of recreational fishing, visit www.billfish.org