Zompopas and fishes

Written by Marco Quesada, Director of Conservation International Costa Rica

It has always surprised me the great ability we have to adapt and get used to what surrounds us. I remember when I was a child, to see ants in my neighborhood and to think it was normal. Among the various species of ants inhabiting my neighborhood, we had the zompopas (leaf-cutters). I got used to see them walking in long lines, carrying huge pieces of leafs and to watch the plants disappear overnight. Many years later, working as a tour guide, I was surprised to see a group of tourists stop for 10 minutes to see a line of zompopas marching through the woods. I had ignored it because I forgot that what is normal for me may be, actually, something special.

It’s something I’ve continued to witness through my life. We stop noticing things, both good and bad behaviours that are around us everyday. We are accustomed to the beauty of our mountains and our beaches, for example. To swimming in a clean sea and to eat seafood from time to time.

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Summer in Guanacaste

Written by Mónika Naranjo González, audiovisual producer

About Costa Rica and the environment, Costa Rica and its oceans, Costa Rica its management of marine and coastal resources there is much to be said.

But it seems impossible to start without clarifying certain concepts: to be against illegal fishing is not to be against the fishermen. To be in favor of environmental conservation is not to be against the exploitation of resources. To denounce and disagree with actions of our institutions is not to be against the government.

Yes, it becomes necessary to stress assumptions that should be obvious because our coastal and marine resources are caught in a crossfire that emerges from the bad image of the conservation movement, the inheritance of government institutions that are ineffective to say the least, the lack of tools in the hands of citizens, the overwhelming of the general public in face of the continuous bombardment of bad news.

It is not easy to start a conversation about marine conservation in our country.

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One step towards shark conservation

Written by Marco Quesada, Director Conservation International Costa Rica

Last week, at the meeting of the group of signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks, countries agreed to incorporate 20 marine species including sawfish, stingrays and various species of sharks, within the list the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) seeks to protect.

Protect from what?

Se estima que a nivel global se matan entre 63 y 273 millones de tiburones anualmente.

It is estimated that between 63 and 273 million sharks are killed annually.

From us, men. We ourselves are the threat pushing these species to extinction . If no measures are taken, some of these species could eventually disappear. Continue reading

Why not to reopen trawling in Costa Rica?

So much has happened in Costa Rica on the conservation and exploitation of marine resources front during 2015, that it is easy to get overwhelmed, or at least confused.

Certainly one of the issues that sparked the debate was what our government called National Policy on Sustainable Exploitation of Shrimp. With great fanfare, it was announced that the process involved the participation and support of the fishing sector, government, academia and the environmental sector.

From there things started badly, given that stating that academy, environmentalists, scientists and even large segments of the fishing industry in our country approved an initiative to reopen trawling, is far from the truth.

We will take it slowly: Continue reading

Our ocean: an uncertainty on 2015

Written by Marco Quesada, Director of Conservation International in Costa Rica

I do not dislike our president. I appreciate that he does not use the same political tone that we have heard all of our lives. I think he is an intelligent, articulate person.

Segmento de un comunicado oficial del gobierno de Costa Rica

Extract from an official communication by Costa Rican government. http://bit.ly/21w11jb

However, I believe that our government has not addressed environmental issues correctly. Marine issues in particular. At the bare minimum, there has been a huge communication problem and that is already a big problem. I think overall the current government has shown a great inability to receive criticism about its management of resources and marine areas. They suffer from intolerance to criticism. Questions do not open debates, they are quickly labeled as “malicious” and “false”. No policy is ever immune to criticism, yet our government, once it receives criticism, insists on qualifying it as evil; the only result being that those who receive it, evade it. Our government cannot explain what those “evil intentions” they are using to disqualify criticism actually are. Without evidence, the discussion disappears and the arguments move to the realm of faith. We are forced to believe rather than to understand. Continue reading