Fishing News

Sport Fishing in the Olympics

Recreational fishing groups from the United States, Mexico and several Latin American countries met in Cancun, Mexico in November for the inaugural assembly of the PanAmerican Sport-fishing Delegation. The purpose of the group is to promote sport fishing as a competitive sport and share a unified front of on fisheries conservation. The association strives to have sport fishing added to the Pan-American Games and with cooperation from European countries, the long-term goal is to make it an Olympic sport.

Golf, table tennis and handball were recently added to the Olympics while skateboarding, surfing and climbing will be included in the 2020 Games. Sport fishing, with millions of global amateur participants, should be the next game the Olympics Committee considers for inclusion.

According to the Confederation International of Sport Fishing, (CIPS), nations of the Americas are not yet sufficiently organized for sport fishing to be considered for the Olympics. The Americas include all countries from North, Central and South America. CIPS was founded in Rome, Italy, in 1952. It currently has 50 million members from 77 countries.

The Federacion Costarricense de Pesca Turistica (FECOP) a Costa Rica nonprofit representing eight sport-fishing associations as well as the National Fishing Club and the Club Amateur de Pesca, was asked to represent Costa Rica in the Pan-American Delegation. FECOP has been a pioneer in marine conservation in Costa Rica. Accomplishments include stopping the exportation of sailfish, sponsoring and supplying the science to protect over 200,000 square kilometers of territorial water from tuna purse seine boats in 2014. A reduction of tuna licenses sold to foreign fleets (from 43 to 13) in 2017 saved 25 metric tons of marlin bycatch last year.

“It is very exciting to be chosen to represent Costa Rica,” said Carlos Cavero, President of FECOP. “We now have an open line of communication with other countries and will join the Americas in a single agency that represent sport-fishing interests. Costa Rica has so much to offer the sport-fishing world and has many anglers with the skills to compete on an international level.”

Four Pan-American tournaments are scheduled in 2018 targeting different species of game fish. A largemouth bass event will be held on Lake Okeechobee, Florida, snook in Tabasco, Mexico, and an offshore tournament at Isle Mujeres, Mexico. Guatemala was also suggested as a possible location for a snook event. Costa Rica and FECOP will host the 2018 PanAmerican Assembly next November followed by a three-day international roosterfish “catch, tag, and release” tournament. The tournament venue has yet to be determined.

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