Costa Rica Sea Industry and Its Issues

With the tuna industry, it is not adequate to just cut down the quantity of fish being caught every year, there has to procedures put into place to conserve these fish. Costa Rica is attempting to bolster the tuna industry by proposing a structure for overseeing and verifying the tuna captured with and without mortality of dolphins. There are 8 regulations set forth in this system. 

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The first one is “The dolphin safe tuna and the non-dolphin safe tuna shall be unloaded from the ship in different containers. The transport guide of each container shall clearly indicate the ship’s origin and the corresponding RSA number, either if it is tuna dolphin safe or non-dolphin safe”. 

The next rule is “dolphin safe tuna shall be classified, weighed and stored separately from the not dolphin safe tuna in the company’s refrigerator, in duly identified hoppers and whose weights and codes shall be recorded in the control system of inventories such as dolphin safe tuna or nondolphin safe with the corresponding RSA”. 

The following rule is “If the Processing Plant requires to sell or transfer untreated whole tuna, it must notify in writing the change in ownership to the official designated by INCOPESCA, and will also follow-up with AIDCP, indicating the corresponding RSA number, the weight transferred and the species, so that the authority continues with the monitoring and control of that tuna”. 

Next is “The requirements for processing dolphin safe tuna and non-dolphin safe tuna shall be made separately in terms of inventory. It shall be recorded on the inventory exit guide if it is dolphin safe tuna or non-dolphin safe, as well as the numbers of the storage chutes that are sent to production and the RSA number to which they correspond”. 

The next regulation is “Dolphin safe tuna and non-dolphin safe tuna will not be processed on the same production line at the same time”. 

Next is “Each production lot will be identified in the processing records as dolphin safe or nondolphin safe indicating the date of production, manufacturing codes, volume, finished product and corresponding RSA”.

The following rule states, “Tuna processed from a purse-seine vessel, operating within the Agreement Area and not covered by the AIDCP, will oblige the National Authority to consign it in a document; a copy of the same shall be delivered to the consignee of the tuna, who shall record in his system of refrigerated inventory records, processing records and export records, the notation that the specific tuna is not covered by the AIDCP”.

The last rule is “Any export of tuna produced with dolphin-safe tuna must be accompanied by an official certification issued by INCOPESCA, in which the dolphin-safe origin of the processed tuna and the corresponding RSA numbers shall be recorded so that an audit can easily follow the tradability of the tuna in its different management stages”. This framework is a great example of Costa Rica’s constant work at conserving and protecting their marine life especially tuna.

Even though Costa Rica is a somewhat small-sized country it has a sizeable number of fresh and saltwater resources. With all these assets, it makes the country viable for aquaculture advancement. Aquaculture formerly commenced around the 1960’s with the central objective being the advancement of socio-economic development in rural regions by adopting new and improved technologies. In the year 1974 the Department of Aquaculture was ratified and its main intention was to enhance the expansion of aquaculture throughout the country. They achieved this by constructing and improving the simple framework of experimental stations. These stations included the Research and Aquatic Production Centre Ojo de Agua in Dota, the Aquatic Station in Cuestillas de San Carlos, the Los Diamantes Aquatic Station in Limon, and the Enrique Jimenez Nunez Aquatic Station in Guanacaste. 

Over the course of the next few decades they would broad their production to species like rainbow trout, freshwater prawn, shrimps, and Pacific oysters. Recently, Costa Rican aquaculture has become more and more crucial both as an alternative approach to producing protein of aquatic origin and on the business angle. In 2018 the Costa Rican Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture gathered information about the countries production of aquaculture. It came to the conclusion that 3% was snapper, 4% rainbow trout, 13% marine shrimp, and 80% tilapia. Other specimens that were involved in aquaculture production include oysters and freshwater prawns, but only in small amounts over the course of a year. Both the production of rainbow trout and snapper have increased by 400 tonnes in 8 years and 250 tonnes in 3 years respectively. 

Overall there are a total of 287 producers of specimens through the process of aquaculture, that provide 2005 domestic jobs, and contribute 0.10% of the Costa Rica’s total GDP. Marine based aquaculture has mainly consisted of research on the production of commercially imported specimens that pertains to their biometric and gonad evaluation in captive situations. Over recent years Costa Rica has increased the number of hectares under production of aquaculture and as well the annual production of aquatic species. From 2000-2004 the number of hectares under production by cultured species increased from 1107.1 to 1931.75. Also over the course of that same time Costa Rica has increased its production of Tilapia, Trout, and Shrimp.   

07 July 2022

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