Costa Rica Provides a World Example for Sea Turtle Protection

Date: October 16, 2002
Contact: Roxana Silman
Phone: INT+506-297-5510

The Legislative Assembly approves Law for Protection, Conservation and Recuperation of Sea Turtle Populations

SAN JOSÉ, COSTA RICA – The Special Permanent Commission of the Legislative Assembly last week passed the Law for Protection, Conservation and Recuperation of Sea Turtle Populations. This new law is an important instrument that significantly strengthens sea turtle protection and declares research into sea turtles and their habitats to be in the public interest. It also states that the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) is responsible for coordinating with other Government institutions to protect these marine species.

The law determines that a person who kills, hunts, captures, slaughters, traffics in or trades sea turtles will be punished with a prison term. It is also made illegal to keep sea turtles for commerical purposes, or to trade sea turtle products and sub-products.

In addition, all Costa Rican and foreign shrimping vessels that operate in the terretorial waters and exclusive economic zone of Costa Rica are required to use turtle-excluder devices (TEDs).

“We are extremely pleased,” says Roxana Silman, National Director of the Caribbean Conservation Corporation, a non-profit organization dedicated to sea turtle research and conservation. “It has been a four-year campaign to develop, promote and finally see the approval of this law by the Legislative Assembly. We are very grateful to all the congressmen and women, and to the Special Commission for showing once again that Costa Rica wishes to assert its global leadership in sea turtle conservation,” Silman concludes.

The news of the law has been received with approval in many parts of the country.

“The passing of this law will undoubtedly help us improve protection for the sea turtles that come to nest on our beaches,” says Eduardo Chamorro, the Administrator of Tortuguero National Park in northeastern Costa Rica.

The Sea Turtle Conservancy, formerly known as the Caribbean Conservation Corporation, is a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 organization based in Florida with offices and projects in several other locations. The Sea Turtle Conservancy is the oldest and most accomplished sea turtle organization in the world. Since its founding in 1959, the Sea Turtle Conservancy’s work has greatly improved the survival outlook for several species of sea turtles. The Sea Turtle Conservancy has as its mission the protection of sea turtles and the habitats upon which they depend. To achieve its mission, the Sea Turtle Conservancy uses research, habitat protection, public education, community outreach, networking and advocacy as its basic tools. These tools are applied in both international and domestic programs focusing on geographic areas that are globally important to sea turtle survival. For more information, visit the STC website or call (800) 678-7853.