The Code of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection declared the environment a common heritage of the nation and nature as a legal good that has to be protected. Article 1 of this code establishes that, “the preservation and management of natural resources are of public utility and social interest." The main goal of this statute is to protect and restore the environment. It strives for the preservation, improvement and rational utilization of the natural resources, attempting for a continued availability of such resources.
Article 3 of this law enumerates the different natural resources. The atmosphere, the water, the soil and subsoil, the flora and fauna, and the primary sources of non-exhaustible energy are some of the natural resources enumerated in Article 3. The commodities listed in Article 3 are natural resources that are highly relevant to the legal system, for which the law establishes certain duties with the purpose of ensuring their continued availability and establishes principles to avoid their diminishment.
Relating to wildlife, the Code of Natural Resources contains the norms relating to terrestrial and aquatic wildlife, regulates hunting and fishing, and includes the sanitary protection of flora and fauna.
The practice of hunting in Colombia is regulated by the Code of Natural Resources in Part IX, Title I “Of the wildlife and hunting," Chapters I to IV and Decreto 1608 of 1978. The norms established in the Code of Natural Resources, according to Article 247, “seek to ensure conservation and rational use of wildlife as a necessary basis for its continued usage." All wildlife in the national territory belongs to the Nation, with the exception of animals in zoos and hunting preserves privately owned. Part IX, Title I, Chapters I, II, III, and IV contain the legal framework for the administration, protection, exploitation and commercialization of wildlife. These chapters regulate the general dispositions of hunting classifications and definitions, the administrations powers, and the prohibitions regarding this practice. The forms of hunting that are currently allowed by the legal system are:
- subsistence hunting;
- commercial hunting;
- sport hunting;
- hunting for scientific purposes;
- hunting for population control of an specific species;
- and hunting for furtherance of zoo breeders and hunting preserves.
All these types of hunting require a special license, with exception of subsistence hunting. Hunting licenses are issued by the Regional Autonomous Corporations of each department. These agencies also determine which species can be hunted in each department across the country.
Part X, talks abouts the hydrobiological resources. Title I, chapters I to VII and Title II of Part X, regulate what is concerning to aquatic flora and fauna and fishing. The norms in this title “are meant to assure the conservation, promotion and rational exploitation” of the aquatic wildlife and to attain its permanent availability. All forms of aquatic life that inhabit the national maritime, fluvial and lacustrine waters, belong to the nation, with exception of those species that inhabit waters privately owned and those that belong to private breeders. The private exploitation of aquatic wildlife is subject is subject to fees and taxes.
Article 273 defines the different types of fishing. All of the various types of fishing, with the exception of subsistence fishing, require a special license. Article 281, establishes a General Record of Fishing. Title I also regulates prohibitions in the activity of fishing, and some of the the corresponding sanctions for violating the dispositions relating to fishing. Title II regulates aquaculture and the promotion of fisheries.
Part IV of the Natural Resources Code provides measures to regulate the importation, introduction, production, transformation, transportation, storage, commercialization, distribution, and utilization of species, their products, and derivatives. The main purpose of the measures established in this law is to protect the fauna and flora in the national territory. Importation and introduction authorizations of species are issued by the national government. The national government also has the duty to establish requirements and conditions for animal and plant importation, their products and derivatives, and to take the necessary measures to avoid the introduction and dissemination of animal and plant diseases.