Costa Rica is quickly becoming one of the most important destinations for sport fishing aficionados in the world.
The variety of marine species found in Costa Rican waters is the main factor that makes Costa Rica ideal for the practice of this activity.
“We can say that the country has an impressive richness, it is considered one of the most important places in Latin America”, commented Henry Marin, coordinator of Strategy and Projects of the Costa Rican Fishing Federation (Fecop).
Learn More About Costa Rica Fishing Species
Sport, recreation and tourism come together in this activity that, contrary to what many think, does not affect the ecosystem. The “catch and release” sport fishing practice frees fish without harming them and at the same time the coastal areas of the country receive the benefits of tourism.
“On average a tourist that comes to practice sport fishing spends ten times more than the average visitor. A fisherman can spend a day between $1,000 to $1,500 dollars, compared to the $100 to $125 that the regular tourist spends. The sport is expensive but those who have this lifestyle seek the best experiences, the best restaurants and the best hotels”, stated Jeff Duchesneau, manager of Marina Pez Vela in Quepos, Puntarenas.
“Our sport fishing clients in particular expect nothing but the absolute best, the best boats, the best service, the best amenities and most importantly the best fishing. Once most anglers experience the Los Sueños community many decide to make it a second home” stated Michael Hardy , Owner of HRG properties and rentals, Los Sueños, Herradura.
“There are four distinct regions in Costa Rica for saltwater sport fishing: Northern Pacific, centered around Flamingo and Papagayo; Central Pacific, consisting of Quepos / Jaco/Los Sueños; Southern Pacific/Golfito; and the Caribbean. Each has its own season for certain species, while others may be found there year-round”.
Fecop has begun the process to have sport fishing recognized as a sport activity by the Costa Rican Institute of Sport and Recreation (ICODER).
The International Confederation of Sport Fishing which has over 50 million members in 77 countries also began the request with the International Olympic Committee to incorporate this activity.
“Our goal is to have sport fishing as part of the Pan-American Games, and make it an Olympic Sport just as surf or table tennis that manage to incorporate for 2020. It is time for this to be part of the most important events”, said Carlos Cavero, director of Fecop.
Fecop was clear that the country still has a long way to go, commercial fishing boats continue to invade the areas were sport fishing is practiced affecting the quantity of marine a life. The Costa Rican Fishing Institute (INCOPESCA) has recognized the lack of government control in this aspect, for instance, even though they have extended a little over 1000 licenses for local fishermen records show that in reality there could be between 6000-15,000 fishermen today.