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  4. Legal framework
  5. Area of competence
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Organization of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector of the Central American Isthmus (OSPESCA) is a regional fisheries advisory body established in 1995 by the Act of San Salvador. In 1999, its member countries decided to integrate OSPESCA within the Central American Integration System (SICA) in order to promote the fisheries and aquaculture sector and strengthen integration in the sub-region. OSPESCA issues regional binding management measures on different fisheries and aquaculture matters. Also, through their nine specialized working groups, evaluates and provides management and development recommendations.


OSPESCA´s mandate is to design and coordinate the implementation and monitoring of strategies, policies and projects related to the regional regulatory framework that leads to the sustainable development of fisheries and aquaculture activities. OSPESCA´s functions are:

  1. Promote strategies for Fisheries and Aquaculture Integration Policy;
  2. Promote and monitor the regional legal framework for Fisheries and Aquaculture;
  3. Coordinate inter-institutional and inter-sectorial efforts of regional scope for Central American fisheries development, with an ecosystem and interdisciplinary approach;
  4. Join efforts to harmonize and apply fisheries and aquaculture laws;
  5. Formulate and promote regional fishing and aquaculture strategies, programs, projects, agreements or conventions;
  6. To promote the regional organization of fisheries and aquaculture producers;
  7. Coordinate regional participation in international fora related to fishing and aquaculture.

The Organization of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector of the Central American Isthmus (OSPESCA) is a regional fisheries advisory body established in 1995 within the Central American Integration System (SICA) in order to promote the sustainable and coordinated development of fisheries and aquaculture in the inland waters, territorial seas and EEZs of its eight members countries.

SICA is the institutional framework for the integration of the Central American region (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama), and also the Dominican Republic, that was established in 1991 and whose regional headquarters are in El Salvador. Its creation was endorsed by the General Assembly of the United Nations Resolution A/48L of December 10, 1993.

OSPESCA joined the General Secretariat of SICA in 1999 and in 2014, the Specialized Regional Directorate of OSPESCA attached to the General Secretariat of SICA was established. It is responsible for coordinating strategies, policies and projects for the regional governance and sustainable development of fisheries and aquaculture.

The "Fisheries and Aquaculture Integration Policy 2015-2025" guides the work of OSPESCA. Based on that, since 2004 more than 25 international cooperation projects and memorandum of understanding have been formulated and executed with different international cooperation organizations. Between its several lines of action it is included the implementation of a regional governance model based on binding measures for all its country members on regional governance of several fisheries (spiny lobster, sharks) and other issues as IUU fishing, shrimp farming health, turtle excluder devices in shrimp fisheries, regional registry of the fleet and aquaculture facilities, monitoring and satellite control of the fishing fleet, among others. To date, 11 regional regulations have been approved.

National authorities, fisherfolk and aquaculture organizations and other actors of the value chain, have learned over the last 20 years to think, to exchange experiences and to work together in favor of the Central American region as a whole. In this framework, they have decided more than 15 years ago that in order to improve and facilitate the communication, to coordinate actions of regional impact, to reach consensus among all parties and to assure that all countries will receive benefits in equal conditions, the dialogue with cooperation agencies and other partners aimed to more than one regional country, or the entire region, is done through OSPESCA.

In 2013, OSPESCA was awarded with the “Margarita Lizarraga“ Medal with recognition "of its significant contribution to sustainable fisheries and aquaculture development in the Central American countries. It is considered a model intergovernmental organization, emulated in other regions for the catalytic effect of its achievements. The contribution of OSPESCA to the application of the Code has been outstanding, practical, tangible and sustainable as well as catalytic for other regions to follow".

Legal framework Area of competenceThe area of competence of OSPESCA extends to the national waters, inland waters and EEZs of its Member States.
OSPESCA area of competence
The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers and boundaries. Dashed lines on maps represent approximate border lines for which there may not yet be full agreement.
Species coverageMarine capture, inland capture and aquaculture fish stocks of Member States. LanguagesSpanish. Members

Member: Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama.

  • The Council of Ministers: it is the governing body of OSPESCA, thus it is responsible for high-level political decisions. It meets twice a year.
  • The Committee of Vice-Ministers: it is the responsible for the executive decisions of the organization. It meets once a year.
  • The Commission of Directors (of Fisheries and Aquaculture): they are responsible of the technical decisions of the organization. It meets twice a year.
  • Regional Directorate of SICA/OSPESCA: it is the executive body of the Organization. It is headed by the Regional Director. It implements the Governing Bodies decisions.
  • Regional working groups: The organization have nine regional working groups focused on: policies, fisheries, aquaculture, sport fishing, legal aspects, gender, climate change, sharks and highly migratory species and guidelines to small fisheries. These groups provide technical assistance to the Regional Directorate and the Technical Commission.
  • Consultive boards: they are advisory bodies and active participants in OSPESCA’s activities within the two regional organizations representing small-scale fisherfolk (Central American Confederation of Artisanal Fishers-CONFEPESCA) and the fishing and aquaculture industry (Organization of Central American Entrepreneurs of Aquaculture and Fishing - OECAP).
EIMS Publications Database Media Social network
  • Facebook: SICAOSPESCA

  • Twitter: @SICAOSPESCA


Web sources


Organización del Sector Pesquero y Acuícola del Istmo Centroamericano (OSPESCA)

Reinaldo Morales Rodriguez (Regional Director)

Final Bulevar Cancillería, Distrito El Espino, Ciudad Merliot, Antiguo Cuscatlán, La Libertad,
El Salvador, Centroamérica

Telephone: +503 2248-8841

Fax: (503) 2248-8899

Email: Info.ospesca

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