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Wednesday, April 16 2014 @ 03:19 AM EDT

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Central American shrimp, lobster fast disappearing

Fishing(AFP) PANAMA CITY — Illegal fishing and climate change are decimating shrimp and lobster populations in Central America, threatening a two-billion-dollar industry and 136,000 jobs, regional experts said Thursday. "Pollution and warmer waters are impacting our species," especially shrimp and lobster, said Central American Organization of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Sectors (OSPESCA) regional director Mario Gonzalez. "The Pacific shrimp population, Panama excluded, has fallen dramatically" because of overexploitation and decreasing rainfall in Central America over the past decade, "which depletes the nutrients they feed on," the expert said. The lobster population is also in jeopardy of disappearing altogether, he added. Illegal fishing is also taking its toll, Gonzalez said. "Of the total amount delivered to fish processing plants, approximately 20 to 30 percent is illegal or undersized," said the OSPESCA official. Underreported catches compound the problem, Gonzalez said. "You can say that in Central America 50 percent of our (fishing) production goes undeclared or not reported, not only by private fishermen but also by large fisheries," the expert said. The dire situation has been brought to the attention of regional governments. "There's a regional policy (on fishing), but it's just included in documents which have to be turned into action in order to better manage our fish stocks," OSPESCA interim president Diana Arauz told AFP. As a first step, officials said, Central American Integration System members -- El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama -- have recently banned lobster fishing from March 1 to June 30 in hopes the species can make a comeback. Lobster and shrimp fishing in Central America employs some 136,000 people and brings in 1.985 billion dollars a year -- 4.1 percent of the regional gross domestic product, OSPESCA and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization said in a report.
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Regional Lobster Fishing Ban In Effect Until 30 June 2010

Fishing To preserve the lobster in the Caribbean, the Aquatic Resources Authority of Panama (ARAP) announced yesterday a ban on lobster fishing and marketing which will last four months, until 30 June 2010. For the first time, most of the countries of Central America are simultaneously participating in this initiative - Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama have all put bans on lobster fishing in place. Panama adopted Regulation OSP-02-09 for the Regional Land Use for lobster fisheries in the Caribbean to help promote its sustainability. (Source: Panama America)

Editor's Comment: You can do your part. If anyone tries to sell you bug between now and 30 June, don't buy it.

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70 Day Shrimp Fishing Restriction Starts Monday

Fishing All fishing trawlers with shrimp gear must return to port no later than 12:01 am on 1 February 2010. The first period of restrictions on shrimp fishing in Panama will start on Monday, according to the Aquatic Resources Authority of Panama. During the next 70 days - the longest closure period of the year - the capture of all specifies of shrimp it is prohibited. Therefore, during this time period, fishermen are prohibited from using fishing gear or nets with openings less than 3 and a half inches. The sale of shrimp (from fishermen to vendors or end users) is also prohibited without a certificate of visual inspection. In addition fishermen are prohibited from fishing for or transporting shrimp without a special safe-conduct permit issued by the ARAP. All fishing trawlers with shrimp gear must have returned to port no later than 12:01 am on 1 February, however there will be some boats conducting special research trips with staff technical inspectors from the ARAP. (Source: Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: The government of Panama places these restrictions on shrimp fishing several times during the year. You should care, because after about two weeks there are no more "fresh" shrimp available in Panama. If you're eating shrimp at a restaurant between now and mid-April, they are either illegal, imported, or frozen.

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Illegal Industrial Fishing in Coiba - And Still No Sanctions

FishingBy JOSE ARCIA for La Presna - Penalties for illegal fishing in Coiba National Park have not been imposed, as more illegal incursions have been detected in the protected area. In May and June 2008, the Aquatic Resources Authority of Panama (ARAP) found four industrial vessels fishing in the park - and in June 2009 they detected two more. One of these was the same ship that was caught last year: the Pearl of the Pacific, owned by the company Comercio Libre y Asociado. The representatives of this company are Demetrius Rusodimos Tiniacos and Constantinos Apostolos Rusodimos. When we managed to locate the company that owns these ships, Marianela Romero, an employee of that company, said Rusodimos would not talk about the issue and denied the incursion into the park. Although investigations were opened in the National Environmental Authority (ANAM) since last year, these processes have not yet been completed. The Office of Legal Counsel of the Anam reported that there were a few changes to the files in both substance and form, and this has delayed the process. ANAM also says it has not been "easy" to notify the representatives of these companies, because they could not be located. This is questioned by the MarViva Foundation, which seeks the implementation of Law 44 of July 2004, which prohibits industrial fishing in the area.
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Swimmer Bitten By Barracuda While Swimming in Bocas

Fishing By Horacio Trottman for El Siglo - A barracuda bit her ankle on the reef. Colombian Alejandro Jimenez, 30, was bitten by a barracuda on the ankle while swimming in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean sea. This happened on the reef located near the Hotel Punta Caracol on Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro. The young Colombian woman was working on the program "Survivor, Lost in Panama," which is being filmed at Bluff Beach on Isla Colon. The woman was given first aid at the hospital on Isla Colon and was later airlifted by an Aviocar C-212 airplane of Panama's National Air Service (SAN) to Panama City - she was transferred about an hour after the incident. The barracuda is a fish which abounds in tropical seas (especially near islands and coral reefs) and may range in size from 45 cm to adults of over a meter. At the time of the writing of this article the woman's condition was unknown - she was transferred in serious condition due to the large amount of blood lost due to the fish bite. (Editor's Comment: I hope she's alright. Many people forget that when you enter the ocean, anywhere on the planet, you are also entering the local food chain. Barracuda's obviously don't eat people but they regularly mistake parts of people for food, especially if you're wearing something like a cute little shiny ankle bracelet or something like that. Barracuda can be big and they are strong and fast hunters that will strike first and ask questions later.)
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Newborn Humpback Whale Washes Up On Beach in El Rompío, Panama

Fishing BY Vielka Corro Ríos for La Prensa - SANTA ANA, Los Santos. A dead humpback whale about four meters long was found along the beach near the town of El Rompío in the area of Santa Ana, in the province of Los Santos. Area resident María Delgado said the whale came out of the water at high tide, at about 5:20 pm yesterday. "It looked like the whale fluttered its tail, but in reality the movement was caused by the wave action, and it was actually dead," said Delgado. She said she assumed this whale was still a baby because adult humpback whales are between 10 and 13 meters long and males can weigh as much as 40 tons. (This whale was a newborn. See Comments)
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National Assembly Reinstitutes Tuna Fishing Restrictions Near Coiba

Fishing By Deivis Eliecer Cerrud for the Panama America - After eight months, in now appears that the final chapter in the case of the Coiba National Park has been closed. Yesterday Law Number 21 of 2 April 2009 was published in the Official Newspaper, restoring the use of Article 11 of Law 44 of 2004 which created the park. This new law, consisting of four articles, restores the use of Article 11 prohibiting the use of walled fishing nets within the limits of the Coiba National Park. Environmentalists were satisfied because they managed to achieve their goal of having the law reinstated. During the last few months of 2008 environmentalist groups pressured the Commission on the Environment within the National Assembly to publish a report they had drafted. The document will help prevent tuna boats from working the area. On 6 August 2008 the National Assembly had countermanded the article to allow fishing near Coiba with a new maritime law. (See Comments)
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Hot February Fishing Records

FishingNet News Ledger.com - More for the record books from the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) for February. From Thailand to Key West, anglers are landing fish they hope are for the record books. (snip) Junior angler Kyle Vincent, of Hobe Sound, Florida started the New Year right while fishing the Tropic Star in Panama, by landing a 102.23 kg (225 lb 6 oz) yellowfin tuna, (Thunnus albacares) on January 1. Using bonito for bait, he wrestled with the sizable fish for two hours before bringing it to the scales. The current boy's IGFA junior record is 190 lb 2 oz ( 86.27 kg), caught on April 30, 2006, off Barbados.
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Opean Ocean Fish Farming Gets Approvals in Panama

Fishing Fish Updade.com - Pristine Oceans S.A. receives Panamanian Government Support for Open Oceans COBIA (Rachycentron canadum) Aquaculture Project near Portobello, Colón, Republic of Panamá. SENACYT representatives received a 12.8lb COBIA after diving on Pristine Oceans Cages to verify completion of SENACYT requirements for receipt of a Government grant. Pristine Oceans S.A. receives Panamanian Government Support for Open Oceans COBIA (Rachycentron canadum) Aquaculture Project near Portobello, Colón, Republic of Panamá Today Richie Pretto Garcia, General Director of Pristine Oceans S.A. received confirmation of the first payment of over $150,000 in Government grants to deploy and confirm high technology components of Open Ocean Aquaculture in the Republic of Panama, for application at Pristine Oceans’ off shore COBIA (Rachycentron canadum) farm located near Portobello, COLON. (more)
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6 nations accused of fishing violations

FishingWASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government said Tuesday that a half-dozen foreign nations are engaging in illegal or unregulated fishing. Officials said they plan consultations with France, Italy, Libya, Panama, China and Tunisia in hopes of getting those countries to take corrective action. "Illegal fishing is a global problem that is depleting fish stocks and hurting the economies of nations and the livelihoods of people who depend on sustainable fishing," said Dr. Jim Balsiger, acting assistant administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries Service. It is the first time NOAA has reported specific countries as engaged in such fishing. After consultations, the agency will either certify that a country has taken corrective action, or list it as still engaging in illegal, unregulated or unreported fishing, in which case that nation's vessels may be denied entry into U.S. ports and the president may prohibit imports of certain fish products from that nation. According to NOAA's report, in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, fishing vessels of identified nations were using illegal fishing gear, fishing during a closed season or not complying with reporting requirements. In the Pacific Ocean, it said, vessels violated an international rule requiring any ship fishing for tuna in the eastern Pacific be listed by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, which manages tuna stocks in that area.
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