Tuna fishing ban demanded
PANAMA. The cancelation of an article in a Panamanian law, dating back to 2004 which prohibits the fishing of tuna using seines in the ...
PANAMA. The cancelation of an article in a Panamanian law, dating back to 2004 which prohibits the fishing of tuna using seines in the waters surrounding Coiba island has caused an uproar among over 40 national and international environmental and conservationist groups.
They are united in demanding that President Martin Torrijos take immediate action to revoke the cancelation, which he has claimed was an oversight.
In light of the President’s silence about the decision, 40 organizations including environmental groups and investigation centers, have sent a letter demanding that he gets involved.
They want him to bring back through an executive decree the protective measure, prohibiting this type of fishing in the area near Coiba.
The environmental groups warn in the letter that without the restitution of the measure, marine species in the area such as tunas, sharks, dolphins, turtles and others will continue to be in danger.
They hope that the law is re-established soon, for debate no later than March by the National Assembly.
The groups warn that with the cancelation of article 11, the country fails to fulfill important obligations under international treaties and conventions, among which are the Convention Concerting the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1971), and the Convention of Biological Diversity (1992).
They also sent a letter to UNESCO’s World Heritage Center, which has also asked the government to bring back the measure as the National Park of Coiba has been declared a World Heritage site.
On August 19 2008, Torrijos admitted that the cancellation of the provision that prohibits the fishing of tuna near Coiba was due to negligence, and that he was going to revise it.
Conservationists say nothing has been done about it to this day.
The National Assembly cancelled the article, better known as the Law of Coiba, on June 30 when introducing a law on maritime commerce.
Last December, the Assembly approved on first debate a proposal to restore the measure, but it has not been taken to second debate.
A presidential decree would protect the zone until the Assembly restarts discussions in March, when legislative sessions reopen.
A quick decision is needed because tuna fishing increases in March.
Government action is needed before the start of that month.