TBF MEMBERS APPOINTED TO COSTA RICA TOURISM COMMISSION

TBFCosta Rica, one of the world's premier sportfishing destinations, has named Herbert Nanne and Monica Gutierrez to the country's recently formed Sportfishing and Tourism Commission.

Nanne is a biologist and The Billfish Foundation's (TBF) Central America Conservation Director. Gutierrez is a lawyer and President of Pronature, a sister conservation entity to TBF.

The Costa Rica Fisheries and Aquaculture Institute (INCOPESCA) created the commission after TBF presented a socioeconomic study showing the positive impact of sportfishing for the country. The Sportfishing and Tourism Commission's duties include creating alternative projects among the small and medium-scale artisan coastal fleets to reduce commercial fishing during closed fishing seasons. It's also charged with promoting sportfishing in Costa Rica and proposing conservation measures for all sportfishing species.TBF

“We've started discussions to promote converting commercial fishermen to sportfishing and eco-tourism operations,” said Nanne. “We're beginning in the Gulf of Nicoya, a highly productive area that is severely overexploited. The nearby ports of Puntarenas and Caldera are visited by cruise-liners and the tourists could be taken on sportfishing trips or tours to observe the beauties of the islands and mangrove estuarine systems where tropical fauna is abundant."

"Another focus is to create and enforce no commercial fishing in areas reserved exclusively for sportfishing."

INCOPESCA President Luis Dobles, and board members Alvaro Moreno, Julio Saavedra and Jorge Niño were previously appointed to the commission. A seventh post will be filled by a Costa Rica Tourism Institute (ICT) representative.

“We're pleased the Costa Rican fisheries authorities have recognized the important role TBF and Pronature perform in overall sportfishing conservation,” said TBF President Ellen Peel. “Mr. Nanne and Mrs. Gutierrez are very active and well known professionals in their country.”

Last year's socioeconomic study on sportfishing's impact was conducted by the Research Institute on Economic Science of the University of Costa Rica. TBF said it was well received by executive governmental authorities and the countries' general public.

TBF is also actively working with government authorities in Mexico, Peru and Panama with programs to protect billfish, mainly from overfishing coastal fisheries by commercial interests, while implementing tag-and-release programs for recreational sportsmen.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary year, The Billfish Foundation based in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., USA, is the only non-profit organization dedicated solely to conserving and enhancing billfish populations worldwide. Its broad network of members and supporters includes anglers, captains, mates, tournament directors, clubs and sportfishing businesses. By coordinating efforts and speaking with one voice, TBF is able to work for solutions that are good for billfish and not punitive to recreational anglers.

For more information, visit billfish.org.