A new law that prohibits hunting for sport could have a small affect on tourism in the area, according to Norma Rodriguez Garro, in charge of protected areas for MINAET in Nicoya.
The proposed Reforms and Additions to the Wildlife Conservation Law was declared constitutional after review by the Sala IV on Wednesday, November 7th, opening the way for it to be put to the second and final vote by the Legislative Assembly.
The initiative modifies 50 articles of the Wildlife Conservation Law, including outlawing hunting for sport, punishable with a fine of up to 1,800,000 colones ($3600). Sports fishing and hunting for subsistence or to control species remain legal.
Rodriguez explained that hunting for subsistence is practiced in rural communities as a source of protein, where people hunt and eat animals such as iguanas, doves, deer and armadillos. This type of hunting is not affected by the new law.
Nicoya mountains. Photo by Emiliana Garcia.
However, sports hunting will be prohibited, and Rodriguez noted that this will have some affect locally as some communities have organized hunting groups and some people from San Jose area come to hunt deer seasonally.
On the other hand, Marco Carmona, president of CASATUR, Samara’s tourism chamber, doesn’t think the new law will impact tourism. He said that hunting used to be popular many years ago but affirmed that hunting for sport has not existed in the area for a long time, with the exception of sports fishing.
This would be the first initiative successfully voted into law under the procedure of the Law of Popular Initiative, which permits citizens to submit law projects to congress with the signatures of at least 5% of the electoral patron (135,000 signatures). The Wildlife Conservation Law was supported by 177,000 signatures collected by the Flora and Fauna Preservationist Association (APREFLOFAS— Asociación Preservacionista de Flora y Fauna).
Legislator Claudio Monge Pereira, representative of the Citizen Action Party (PAC) and member of the Environmental Commission, highlighted that with this initiative, Costa Rica will be the first country in the continent to outlaw hunting for sport.