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Costa Rica Aquaculture

Costa Rica Aquaculture

Costa Rica is a small country with a lot of  resources like rivers, great weather and a marine economic zone of almost 600.000km2, making the country perfect for aquaculture.


Sweet water aquaculture began in the 1960s in rural areas. The technologies have been improved so the country can benefit as much from this activity as it is possible. In the last 20 years, it has become a very important activity by generating income and jobs. 

costa rica aquaculture statistics

The first species to be cultivated were tilapias and rainbow trout, followed by shrimps, freshwater prawns and oysters. Costa Rica´s shrimps are imported to Europe and are very popular there. 


Right now, there are 287 certified aquaculture producers, this industry creates 2005 direct jobs and it contributes by 0.10% to the GDP, meaning 1.6% of Costa Rica´s exportations. For some unknown reason, most of the fish the country gets by aquaculture is exported to Europe and North America, so importations from Asia are needed to be consumed locally. 


The government’s institute for fishing and aquaculture is called INCOPESCA. This entity is trying to promote the fishing development to be sustainable but more effective. 


Meanwhile, state universities like UNA and UTN have made curricula more robust for marine biologists, aquaculture engineers and fish farmers. They also offer well-equipped laboratories for investigation of biotechnology, genomics, histology, freshwater aquaculture, reproductive biology and research for diseases for aquatic species, water quality, and such… These developments are located mostly in Puntarenas and Guanacaste but there’s a project located in Guapiles, Limon too.  You can visit the Parque Marino del Pacifico, in Puntarenas, which is Costa Rica ‘s aquarium. 


Aquaculture supports alimentary security, creates jobs and betters social and economic conditions for coastal rural zones with very few options to develop. 


Aquaculture products are stable. However, artisanal fishing has weakened. A lot of people depend on it, mostly in poor coastal zones. But universities are making plans to bring sustainable aquaculture to those zones too. They will need a lot of support from the government to afford the structures, making laws to protect the workers and to support the development of the forgotten zones that will benefit from the aquaculture activities.


Karen Ebanks

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