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Costa Rican Fisherman Arrested by Nicaragua

Costa Rica News – Two Costa Ricans were arrested while fishing just 1.3 kilometers off the Costa Rican coast, which is 400 meters south of Bolaños Island, which both Costa Rica and Nicaragua claim.

illegal fishing costa rica 1Under the Article IV of the Cañas Jerez Treaty of Limits, 1858, the Salinas Bay, where the island is, is common to both countries. Both can take advantage of it and must defend it.

Nonetheless, the bay has had an increasing Nicaraguan military presence. On May 31, they arrested the Ticos and seized their boat. A formal protest note was sent to Managua and the issue will surely come up in the ongoing court case over the border at the International Court of Justice.

The men say they were humiliated and intimidated, that their clothes were taken and a gun was pointed at them after they were transferred to a warship with cannons and eight military personnel. The fishing boat was seized.

When they were released, a captain from a sporting event gave them money for a taxi to the border. Each had to pay a fine of around $80 to Nicaragua for entering without a passport!

That fee was taken care of by Cristian Ruiz, the owner of the boat. He had to hire a lawyer and pay $1,400 for the defense and $1,600 in bribes to an Army officer to get his boat back.

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