The Costa Rican Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture (Incopesca) has announced their decision to request a $30 USD permit for each tourist that wants to go whale watching.
According to their website Incopesca states that a card is granted according to the activity, commercial fishing, sport fishing, underwater fishing, for the sale of turtle eggs, and now, for whale watching.
Deputy Melvin Nunez from the National Restoration Party (PRN) was having none of it and recorded a video opposing the latest cash grab by the government of President Carlos Alvarado. Deputy Nunez said the government must stop and not overwhelm the people more by resorting to charges, such as this one announced this weekend just prior to the start of whale watching season off the southern Pacific coast of the country. He has asked them to reconsider this permit for tourists to go whale watching.
Each ship is also required to get an annual license costing 83,000 colones (~ $140 USD) to be allowed to take people whale watching. Whale watching has become increasingly popular, especially in the southern Pacific region of the country.
The Deputy wanted to remind the Executive Branch that we are in the middle of a health and financial crisis, and people are asking to be allowed to work in peace. There are thousands of Costa Ricans who depend on being able to go out on the ocean to go to work with peace of mind, less buraucracy and without more paperwork.
It appears that before we even have tourists returning we are again trying to squeeze more cash from their pockets. Not a good plan, especially during these difficult times.