Panama China deal will hurt Recreational Fisheries

The Panamanian government has struck a deal with Chinese fisheries that will allow the harvest of skipjack tuna, a species critical to the pelagic ecosystem of Panama’s Pacific waters.

While you may not have heard to skipjack tuna, you’ve surely heard of Marlin, Yellowfin and sailfish. These big game fish, that bring in nearly $100,000 million annually in revenue for the country, relay on a large number of skipjack tuna to survive. Without the skipjack, not only Panama but surrounding countries will lose populations of larger game fish. Once these fish are gone, it’s a sure bet that Panama will lose its appeal for anglers from around the world.

Why is Panama handing over a species not only imperative to recreational fishing but also the health of the Pacific ocean? We’re not the only ones asking the question. 

Ursula Marais, who manages Tropic Star Lodge in Piňas Bay, expressed her concern about the impact of harvesting Skipjack in such large quantities in a press release earlier this week. In her statement, Marais said Tropic Star, one of the countries most recognized fishing outfits, has set up an emergency meeting with the Minister of Tourism in an effort to urge against the agreement. Will presenting the economic and environmental implications be enough to outweigh this political deal? let’s hope so.