Here we go again

portada

Once again, on December 4, 2016, a scientific team sailed to Cocos Island National Park. Eighteen experts left Puntarenas to continue the work that Conservation International has supported on this World Heritage Site for the past 12 years. In a project developed jointly with CIMAR of the University of Costa Rica, scientists specialized in diverse fields of marine biology have been dedicated to evaluating the health of the submarine ecosystems of the island.

Thirty-six hours are necessary to reach it, and although the planning of the expedition had begun several months ago, the crossing was dedicated to the completion of the preparations. All the members received safety instructions, they were informed about the working protocols, they prepared their diving equipment and became familiar with the ship and its crew.

whatsapp-image-2016-12-04-at-6-40-21-pm

Continue reading

Our underwater Costa Rica is simply amazing

Written by Eva Salas, marine biologist

We are a small country, but thanks to Cocos Island our territory is very large and is 90% sea. Who knows what is there to be discovered in the seamounts which are part of the island, or the more than 3,000 meters deep pit where the Cocos plate sinks under the Caribbean. Our small country has at least 3.5% of the marine biodiversity in the world … that’s a lot!
We’re lucky, it’s not just any country that has the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea so close! These two bodies of water were separated more than 3 million years ago, so if one looks underwater with a mask and a snorkel, one meets two completely different universes. The fishes look very similar, but there are some differences in the colors. Corals are nothing alike in the Caribbean and the Pacific. One wonders how they got there, how these species evolved?

Los corales que habitan el océano Pacífico (Izq.), son muy distintos de los del mar Caribe (Der.).

Corals in the Pacific Ocean (Left),are very different from those in the Caribbean Sea (Right).

Continue reading

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

Without predators there is no ocean

Written by Marco Quesada, Director of Conservation Internacional Costa Rica

The loss of predators greatly affects the functioning of marine ecosystems. Healthy ecosystems can not exist without predators.

Costa Rica to advance implementation of measures to discourage the shark trade. National and public interests of our country must promote sustainable fishing practices that ensure our food and environmental security.

Sharks and bycatch

A new study from the University of Miami on the vulnerability of twelve species of shark that are by-catch (caught unintentionally) in longline fishing lines shows that species have very different rates of survival once captured. In other words, some species die faster than others.

Continue reading

A defining moment

written by MARIO ESPINOZA, marine biologist, professor at the University of Costa Rica.

Currently, issues of export of shark fins, and especially marketing hammerhead shark species have been the focus of attention of many, including the fisheries sector, government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and Costa Rican people.

La aletas de tiburón son muy apetecidas en el mercado asiático. Foto por Jeff Litton

La aletas de tiburón son muy apetecidas en el mercado asiático. Foto por Jeff Litton

Shark fins have a very high value on the Asian market, which has led to illegal fishing activities to the detriment of several species such as hammerhead sharks. The reason is simple, the price of the fins is higher than that of the flesh. Therefore, some fishermen opt for the easy (but illegal) option of cutting and retaining only the fins so they can have more room on their boats, and thus generate greater wealth. This activity has been completely banned in many countries, and Costa Rica is no exception. However, not only does shark finning continue in our waters, but also a lack of controls the landings, which makes it impossible to even know the kind of species being captured. This despite all the existing regulations and conventions to which Costa Rica is part.
Continue reading