Reconstruction of Costa Rica’s marine fisheries catches 1950-2008

Published in 2012

Reconstruction of Costa Rica’s marine fisheries catches 1950-2008

Pablo Trujillo, Andrés M. Cisneros-Montemayor, Sarah Harper and Dirk Zeller


Total marine fisheries catches in Costa Rica’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) were reconstructed for 1950-2008 and compared to officially reported data as supplied to FAO by the government of Costa Rica. The reconstruction consists of improving FAO fisheries statistics with unreported data, including discarded bycatch, and unreported artisanal, recreational and subsistence catches. During the time period considered, total reconstructed catches were 2.3 times higher than data supplied to FAO by Costa Rica. Of the previously unaccounted catch, 87% was shrimp trawl bycatch, 10% was misreported and unreported shark catches, and the rest was unmonitored subsistence fishing, and cockle and whelk harvest. According to data supplied to FAO, Costa Rican fisheries have extracted an average of 13,000 t·year-1 from their EEZ since 1950; our revised estimates suggest that total catches are closer to 30,000 t·year-1. This discrepancy has major implications for fisheries management and sustainability actions in this country, whose economy hinges heavily on the conservation of the terrestrial and marine ecosystem for ecotourism.

Fisheries Centre – The University of British Columbia – Working paper # 2012-03




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