(QCOSTARICA) Following a wave of criticism on social networks, the tourism sector and in the Legislative Assembly, for charging visitors to see the whales at a time that country is promoting national tourism to reactive the economy, the board of directors of the Costa Rican Fisheries and Aquaculture Institute (Incopesca) agreed to a moratorium, for this year and 2021, on the payment for whale watching.
The decision was announced Wednesday afternoon, September 2, by Incopesca executive president, Daniel Carrasco Sánchez, after the measure unleashed a wave of criticism,.
The charge for observing these cetaceans dates from 2005, when it was established in Executive Decree January 20, 2005, published in La Gaceta on July 28, 2005, called Regulation for the Operation of Activities Related to Cetaceans in Costa Rica.
“We understand the economic impact of all sectors and the need to reactivate the national economy, especially the coastal communities, so we agreed to postpone for 2020 and 2021 the collection of the license for whale watching, whose rate was officialized by the Board of Directors,” Carrasco explained in the statement.
Humpback whales weighing more than 40 tons are already visible in the Parque Nacional Marino Ballena (Ballena National Marine Park), in south Puntarenas.
From December to April, the park is visited by migrating humpback whales who come to breed in the warmer tropical waters off the Central American coast. From June to November, the whales migrate north to the West Coast of the United States and southern British Columbia, where they feed.
In the terrestrial area of the park there are the beaches of Ballena beach, Uvita bay beach and Piñuela beach.
The fee to obtain the card and be authorized for this tourist activity was US$5.65 for one day.