|From left to right: Rene Castro, Leonora Jiménez, Laura chinchilla, David Chacón, Randall Arauz Y Andrés Jiménez.
On November first the group of conservationist held a meeting with President Chinchilla and Minister Castro to ask for the immediate intervention and refurbishing of the Costa Rican Institute for Fisheries and Aquaculture (Incopesca). The group mention that Incopesca constantly fails to apply marine environmental regulations and that there is a serious conflict of interest, as the members of the executive board of the institute are owners at the same time, of the fishing vessels.
Delivering on it’s commitment, the President Chinchilla officially responded to the campaign by the team of Leonora Jimenez, David Chacon, Andres Jimenez and Randall Arauz, on the official letter she presented a plan to form a committee to review the marine agencies of the country with the purpose of recommending actions to improve marine management. The plan was officially launched by the President on November 14, together with the Environment Minister Rene Castro. In the letter, the officials make clear that this government’s commitment to marine resources is reflected in the National Development Plan 2011-2014, among whose goals is the management and promotion of fisheries and the development of a national plan for coastal and marine management, this Commission is thought to be very useful in reaching their goals.
In the executive summary, the approach aims to create a Presidential Council, with a limit of three months to assess marine institutions. The same must diagnose, assess and recommend the necessary adjustments to marine governance. “We consider it necessary to appoint a group of leaders and intellectuals to analyze marine institutions, hoping that from the results and the recommendations of this commission we can strengthen the institutions responsible for marine management and control of the country,” Proclaim the proposal.
The document appoints the environmental lawyer Maria Virginia Cajiao Jimenez as the coordinator of the group, currently, she is an advisor and coordinator of the National Environmental Council (presidential environmental council). Due to this position, she will serve as the bridge to ensure communication and coordination with the Presidency of the Republic, the MINAET and other public institutions involved. The group is going to be integrated by an expert in oceanography or marine biology, a representative of government institutions, one of the artisanal fisheries sector and another industrial fishing sector, all of which have yet to be appointed.
“We consider of vital importance for the expert in biology or oceanography to be a leading academic from national universities. Also for the inclusion of a representative of high credibility among national NGOs, seeking greater equity among sectors represented in the commission as experience in different topics,” said Andres Jimenez. “In addition in the desire to avoid bias, we suggest that representatives of government institutions not to be from the Incopesca (from its name in Spanish translated to National Institute for fisheries and agriculture) otherwise we could unbalance the commission to the side of fisheries.”
“We are optimistic, as President Chinchilla has shown great openness to the call of Costa Rican citizens who want better management of its precious marine resources,” said Leo Jimenez. “We are killing the sea, and it is our responsibility and nobody else’s, to do something about it, and fight to demand reforms in the country’s marine institutions we need.”