Tiny nation again leads the way with sportfishing study

FOLLOWING on from recently introducing long-lining restrictions and the banning of purse seining, the tiny enlightened nation of Panama continues to lead the world in developing and protecting its sportfishing resources by announcing a research study into sportfishing tourism. Read related story here.

Panama’s minister of science, technology and innovation announced the socio-economic research study on the impact of sportfishing tourism, which will be conducted by the Billfish Foundation in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Dr. Ruben Berrocal said, “My ministry is involved in tourism and the impact of sportfishing on the local marine life is very exciting, so we’re supporting this research.”

He said other Panamanian ministers are also involved to enact sound environmental policies to preserve Panama’s precious resources while creating opportunities for economic prosperity. Last summer for the conservation of its marine life and its country’s socio-economic growth, Panama banned commercial purse seining. Earlier this year it also restricted longlining.

Dr. Russell Nelson of The Billfish Foundation said there are three parts to the research study.

“First we’ll map and estimate what’s currently brought into Panama by sportfishing tourism similar to work we’ve recently done in Mexico and Costa Rica. Panamanian economist Dr. Ruben Lockland will develop an input-output model allowing us to show how that money, and future monies coming into Panama, actually impact the total economy.

“For the first time we’ll be adding a second component to look at what opportunities exist within Panama now for new sportfishing destinations and new sportfishing opportunities. We’re talking about everything across the board – freshwater, saltwater, the Pacific, the Caribbean – to identify potential opportunities and what impediments in terms of infrastructure may lie in the way of developing those. We then can make recommendations to Panama’s officials about how they can improve to expand beyond what is currently going on in the sportfishing realm.”

“And the third component will be an overview of how Panama is undertaking fisheries and resource management now, and how they might develop a modern science-based system to monitor the status, the changes of fisheries resources and move that into the 21st century.”

In stark contrast to these exciting developments in Panama, supposedly enlightened countries like Australia stillallow, even encourage, commercial exploitation of iconic gamefish likestriped marlin and have little or no understanding of the economic orsocial value of sportfishing.

For more on The Billfish Foundation visit

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