Costa Rica Fish Species
Meet the Yellowfin
One of FECOP’s primary initiatives is to reduce “bycatch” resulting (most often times) from illegal, non-sustainable, tuna fishing operations in Costa Rica’s Pacific ocean. The aftermath of this illegal activity includes the death of non-targeted species such as sailfish, marlin (billfish), dolphins, sea-turtles, and the destruction fragile marine ecosystems. Learn more about our current initiatives Tuna for Ticos, and The Costa Rica Tuna Decree
Tuna Fast Facts
Did you know – The yellowfin can be distinguished from the blackfin by the black margins on its finlets?
Tuna are considered warm blooded because they can regulate their own body temperature . The very few partly or fully warm-blooded fish possess organs near their muscles called retia mirabilia that consist of a series of minute parallel veins and arteries that supply and drain the muscles.
Most large yellowfins have overextended second dorsal and anal fins that may reach more than halfway back to the tail base in some large specimens. In smaller specimens under about 60 lb (27 kg) and in some very large specimens as well, this may not be an accurate distinguishing factor since the fins do not appear to be as long in all specimens. The pectoral fins in adults reach to the origin of the second dorsal fin, but never beyond the second dorsal fin to the finlets as in the albacore. The bigeye tuna (T. obesus) and the blackfin tuna (T. atlanticus) may have pectoral fins similar in length to those of the yellowfin. The yellowfin can be distinguished from the blackfin by the black margins on its finlets. Blackfin tuna, like albacore, have white margins on the finlets. It can be distinguished from the bigeye tuna by the lack of striations on the ventral surface of the liver.
This is probably the most colorful of all the tunas. The back is blue black, fading to silver on the lower flanks and belly. A golden yellow or iridescent blue stripe runs from the eye to the tail, though this is not always prominent. All the fins and finlets are golden yellow though in some very large specimens the elongated dorsal and anal fins may be silver edged with yellow. The finlets have black edges. The belly frequently shows as many as 20 vertical rows of whitish spots.
The diet depends largely on local abundance, and includes flying fish, other small fish, squid and crustaceans. Fishing methods include trolling with small fish, squid, or other trolled baits including strip baits and artificial lures as well as chumming with live bait fishing.
It is highly esteemed both as a sport fish and as table fare. Its flesh is very light compared to that of other tunas, with the exception of the albacore, which has white meat.
If you would like to make an impact and help FECOP stop illegal fishing in Costa Rica, please sign the petition below
Presidency of the Republic,
Legislative Assembly Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock,
National Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture,
Ministry of Environment and Energy,
Vice Ministry of Water and Seas,
National Coast Guard Service,
The situation of illegal fishing that is happening in our country is a serious problem that affects our marine resources, the national economy and that of our communities.
It is for this reason that through this petition we request better controls and effective surveillance for foreign tuna fleets.
Better penalization mechanisms for those who break the law of our country and exploit our resources indiscriminately.
As well as support and prioritization for national fleets in the consolidation of sustainable tuna fishing in our territorial waters.
I hereby support this cause by registering my information on the following petition.
More Costa Rica Fishing Species
Help FECOP Fight Illegal, Non-Sustainable Fishing in Costa Rica – Sign the Petition – Tuna for Ticos
It is estimated that up to 26% of tuna taken in Costa Rican territorial waters by foreign tuna purse seiners is unreported, taken illegally, never makes it to a Costa Rican port, and doesn’t benefit Costa Rica in any manner.
The tuna issue in Costa Rica is not new. A FECOP study in 2013 showed that Costa Rica tuna was being overexploited and the country was only benefiting $37 a ton from tuna captured here. FECOP presented a project “Tuna for Ticos” to President Laura Chinchilla and she signed the “tuna decree” at the tail end of her administration moving tuna seiners a total of 45 miles from the coast and protecting areas around sea mounts and Cocos Island. A total of 200,000 square kilometers of territorial was labeled for protection.
Luis Guillermo Solis delayed the passing of the decree when he succeeded Chinchilla as President but the “tuna decree” eventually went into effect in 2014. FECOP science in 2017 convinced the government to limit the number of licenses awarded to foreign vessels and ordered the tuna licenses reduced from 43 issued to 13. Evaluating past landing records this moved saved 25 tons of would have been marlin bycatch as well as sharks, turtles, dorado and marine mammals (mainly dolphin, since they have a symbiotic relationship with yellowfin tuna).
“Greenstick Fishing,” a method of trolling for tuna commercially with almost zero by-catch has been used by innovators in the commercial industry for some time here in Costa Rica. To make greenstick fishing legal in Costa Rica, technical studies were necessary and FECOP team with INA, and INCOPESCA to produce scientific and technical support and the greenstick license was approved in 2018.
Inside the 45-mile protected zone the tuna resource has made an astounding recovery. FECOP recently met with representatives of the commercial longline fleet in Puntarenas and Quepos to discuss the tuna issue and fishing with greensticks and other more selective types of gear. Consumers of tuna are more aware now and fish caught in this manner and they have a better market price than tuna caught by other means.
We heard the same in both places. There is still not enough tuna available to Costa Rican commercial fleets to make it viable and profitable to fish greenstick or pole and line, one by one tuna. They explained foreign fleets were taking most of the available tuna with little benefit to Costa Rica and illegal tuna boats were in fact stealing resources from Costa Rica. With all Costa Ricans working together, commercial, sport, ONG’s and the public, we can convince the government to look after its own and not give away our resource to foreign interests.
The long-term benefit will be more fish available for TICO fisherman. With that other fishing methods will be feasible, and less turtles, sharks, billfish, and marine mammals will perish in nets or by non-selective types of fishing.
Make an Impact!
SIGN THE OFFICIAL PETITION BELOW TO SUPPORT THIS PROJECT
Presidency of the Republic
Legislative Assembly Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock
National Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture
Ministry of Environment and Energy
Vice Ministry of Water and Seas
National Coast Guard Service
The situation of illegal fishing that is happening in our country is a serious problem that affects our marine resources, the national economy and that of our communities. It is for this reason that through this petition we request better controls and effective surveillance for foreign tuna fleets. Better penalization mechanisms for those who break the law of our country and exploit our resources indiscriminately. As well as support and prioritization for national fleets in the consolidation of sustainable tuna fishing in our territorial waters.
Conservation International and Coastguard research, 100 vessels had suspicious fishing activities (2016-2017)
Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Minister of Environment, declaring in radio show, 50 million of dollars lost each year to illegal fishing.
llegal fishing in Isla del Coco
Global fish watch map that report possible IUU activity within 45 miles (2015-Oct 2018) (Look in the left bottom corner a play bottom and click it)
Sport Fishing and The Three Pillars of Sustainability- Economic Development, Social Development and Environmental Protection.
Environmentally sustainable fishing practices are often cast as a choice between healthy fish populations and healthy economies and societies. A new global study led by University of Florida scientists shows that, when managed well, ecologically sound fisheries boost profits and benefit communities.
Using a database of 121 fisheries on every continent, the researchers evaluated relationships between the three pillars of sustainability defined by the United Nations: economic development, social development and environmental protection. Their findings were published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“With fisheries, there are often perceived to be trade-offs between those pillars,” said Frank Asche, a professor in the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems, part of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. With good reason: Plenty of case studies document that profits can drive overfishing, or that regulation can hurt fishing communities. But Asche and his co-authors argue that those examples don’t point to the impossibility of managing fisheries in a way that benefits all three goals — just a flawed approach to management.
“Those case studies are most likely correct, all of them,” Asche said. “But when you find trade-offs, you have to look for the problem that is causing them, because around the world, enough people are getting this right. If you create a trade-off, something in the design of your management system doesn’t work.”
The finding is particularly timely as the U.S. Senate considers revisions to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. A bill passed in the House would weaken the management strategies that most benefit economic and social sustainability, potentially reducing the sustainability of U.S. fisheries, Asche said.
Asche authored the study with UF/IFAS Institute for Sustainable Food Systems director James Anderson, professors Karen Garrett and Kai Lorenzen, post-doctoral associate Taryn Garlock, and researchers from Duke University, the World Bank, the United Nations, the University of Washington, the University of Stavanger in Norway and Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands.
The worldwide database they created — which compiles 68 outcome metrics and 54 input metrics for fisheries and the communities and economies around them — will in future be used to investigate what factors make some management systems work better than others, and how success across the three pillars varies with the type of fishery or species.
“It help sort out some of these conflicts,” Asche said. “Is it necessary to limit fishing to protect fish stocks? Yes. Will excluding some potential fishers create poorer-functioning coastal communities? The answer is a clear no.”