Fishing Regulations in Costa Rica

Fishing Regulations in Costa Rica
Costa Rica's warm ocean waters team with a large variety of fish, including massive marlin and giant sailfish. Many tourists travel to this Spanish-speaking country to try their sport-fishing luck at landing a record catch, while others come to enjoy some relaxing recreational fishing. Regardless of your goals, all anglers must conform to the country's fishing regulations.

Fishing License

All anglers must possess a Costa Rican fishing license. As of 2009, such a license costs $24. You can purchase a license at most public docks. If you are chartering a commercial boat or fishing tour, consult the tour operator as some tours include the cost of the license with the tour package. The license must remain with you at all times.

Catch and Release

When sport fishing, anglers typically fall under the sport fishing industry laws set by the Costa Rican Institute of Fish and Aquaculture. Anglers must release all game they catch, though they can retain the fish long enough to measure and weigh it. Anglers must also use circle hooks and not the more lethal J-shaped hooks. Individuals found to be using anything but a circle hook can be fined or have their fishing license revoked.

Open-Sea Regulations

Individuals who want to fish on the open sea must contract the use of a licensed Costa Rican boating operator. Small recreational boats are typically unsuited for ocean fishing and are not accepted as vessels past Costa Rica's territorial waters. Ocean anglers must also be aware that, while large schools of fish can be found off of Costa Rica's coasts, individuals enter international waters once they sail more than 200 miles from Costa Rica. New laws can take jurisdiction in these waters and can reduce the fish species that are able to be legally caught.

Article Written By Josh Duvauchelle

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.

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