Cocos Island’s Water – Free for All No More

Photo courtesy from Costa Rica Star

As far as the Costa Rican Coast Guard is concerned, last year may be a sad year for them. Sad in a sense that they were not able to fully implement the law of the sea due to lack of resources, personnel and political will.

In an interview of Martin Arias Araya, Director of the Costa Rican Coast Guard Service, he express his concern over the insufficient government support and lack of water navigation laws where illegal activities has taken advantage of it. Aside from being hampered by the lack of government regulations, their 500 personnel is no match to the jurisdiction they are guarding which consist of 1,228 kilometers (763 miles) of coastline. On top of this, they are doing a multi-task where their duties doesn’t just focus on environmental protection but also cater to human trafficking, drug trade and a lot more.

A Bright Future Ahead

If things were not on the side for the environment last year, then it may be a different case this year and for the coming years. The Costa Rican Government has strengthened its force to implement environmental laws, especially the law of the sea.

Let us take the case of the apprehension made in 2011 to a Taiwanese Fishing Vessel carrying hundreds of shark fins wherein people were dismayed to the dismissal of the case. As things are turning good, the case was appealed and was eventually ruled out that the perpetrator was guilty of damaging the natural resources of Costa Rica which is accompanied by a 6 months prison time. But what is really surprising is that the particular verdict is the first of its kind in Costa Rica where environmentalist and nature lovers alike are rejoicing about this good news.

For more information, you can read our related article about the First Costa Rican Court Verdict sends Taiwanese Businesswoman Behind Bars for Illegal Practice of Shark Finning.

Photo courtesy from Sailing Camelot

What’s more to this is that they will be upgrading the services of the Costa Rican Coast Guard in terms of liquid and personnel assets. Due to arrive in 2018 as a donation from the United States, their existing 40 interceptor ships will be augmented by a 38-meter vessel which is more bigger and faster and can easily chase any vessel who previously outruns them. Aside from equipment upgrading, personnel development will also commence where some officers will undergo specialized training to man this state-of-the-art patrol vessel.

How does this affect Cocos Island?

As part of the agreement by the Governments of Costa Rica and United States, the 38-meter patrol vessel will exclusively be used in the monitoring and patrolling of the Pacific Waters of Costa Rica where Cocos Island can be considered centrally located.

So, to all illegal fishers poaching the waters of Cocos island, think again before doing anything not good. On the lighter side, you can take our advice and support the tourism industry instead.

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Anders, W. February 2017. Costa Rica’s Waters Are a Free-for-All Says Coast Guard Director. The Costa Rica Star.

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