A responsible consumer asks these questions and thus promotes good fishing practices, ensuring the future of the sea and its resources.
What species is it?
Fish, like us, have their own first and last names.
However, commercially they are known by other names that confuse consumers.
Commercially, many names are used to refer to fish and shellfish. These “common” names (which is not the official scientific name) can group different species under one name. Some of these may even confuse or mislead the consumer by using “fancy” names. Check what species of fish you are buying or consuming with the help of the Species Identification Guide and the Fillet Identification Guide. In this way you can verify other important criteria, such as the threat status and minimum size of the species you want to consume.
In Costa Rica there is a Labeling Regulation that requires businesses to clearly identify the fish product, indicating: the common name of the species; the country of origin; if it is wild or cultivated; whether it is fresh or thawed; as well as the
recommendations for proper storage.
What is your threat status?
There are species that due to excessive exploitation are threatened or endangered and others, luckily, have healthy populations.
Several species of fish are threatened or endangered due to overexploitation and their populations no longer tolerate fishing pressure. Find out about which species are the most recommended for consumption. National authorities also establish closed seasons for certain species or areas, which allow fish stocks to recover. Find out about the closed seasons and avoid the consumption or purchase of the affected species during it.
What size it has?
If fish that have not reached their size to bear young are sold, future generations will soon be exhausted.
It is essential to ensure that the fish consumed is an adult that has reproduced before being caught and thus guarantee that there are more fish in the sea. For this, its size (length from head to tail) is used as a reference, which is known as “minimum size at maturity”. The minimum size varies according to the species, so it is recommended to ask the seller and consult the guides available what you are going to consume.
Where does it come from?
Not all the sea is fishing territory.
Marine protected areas and restricted zones have been established to ensure the future of species and fishing.
In areas such as marine protected areas (National Parks or Reserve areas), mouths of estuaries, mangroves and rivers, where fishing may be limited or prohibited. These zones protect areas of high diversity or are refuges for the reproduction of species. Find out about the origin of the fish you eat, it must come from areas free of restrictions.
How was he captured?
There are ways of fishing that allow you to choose the species to catch and reduce the capture of unwanted species.
This is known as selective fishing gear. Prefer species that were caught using these methods.
There are ways of fishing with little impact on the sea, which allow you to choose the species to catch and reduce the capture of unwanted species or small fish (below their maturity size). This is known as “selective fishing gear”. Learn about these techniques and prefer species that were caught using these methods.