Instead of collecting seashells, let’s collect trash

Written by Viviana Araya Gamboa, Costa Rican artist from Pez Cocinado

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I LOVE the immense ocean, but mainly I love those little details that inhabit it, why ?? I don’t know, I just know that being there makes me happy. We usually criticize trawlers, fishermen, but the truth is that from home, from where we are, we can also generate a large impact on all of that life, how responsible are we of our trash !!?? Which with the help of the rain, wind and some of our irresponsibilities, we all participate in shutting down the colors and details that live within all that blue. 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).

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On a shrimp boat

Written by Silvia Echeverría, Marine Biologist

They may be just a few people who have had the opportunity to get on a shrimp boat. So the first thing is to know is that these boats have nothing to do with a tourist yacht or a boat ride.

Life on the boat has a different feel and its dynamic is unique. Fishermen are a team, they work articulately and each one has a role. Of course I probably lost the real dynamics for two reasons: first, because I spent half the time asleep as a result of motion sickness pills (and the other half throwing up), and second, because being a woman and research biologist onboard, men presented themselves as courteous and polite as they could, not jesting and even watching their vocabulary. Continue reading

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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Painted nails and dirty hands: science and femininity

Written by Melania Guerra, Ph.D. Oceanographer

The relevance of scientific and technological research to society and the great impact they generate for the progress of humanity, are well known. Therefore, one would think that it is obvious to state that the more people are engaged in these fields … the better! Especially if each person contributes with their unique and special talents. However, historically the barriers in the scientific world have separated, isolated or ignored the valuable contributions of women, symbol of an inequality that unfortunately is not only exclusive to these professions.

Naively, in my view as a child, I grew up not knowing these limitations of gender that are arbitrarily imposed. I fell in love with science, as one falls in love with chocolate: it felt deliciously pleasant to hear the stories of exploration archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, the adventures on the high seas of Jacques Cousteau and exploits outside the Earth’s atmosphere of Franklin Chang-Diaz, emotions that transcended gender divisions. All my role models were coincidently men, but I never stopped to ask if it made a difference or if emulating them was compatible with my identity as a woman.

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