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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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

Seven wishes for 2016

Written by Marco Quesada, director of Conservation International Costa Rica
Este podría ser un año difícil para la conservación marina

This could be a difficult year for marine conservation

We start another tour around the sun and at this time we always want to adjust goals, directions and expectations. It could be a difficult year for marine conservation as El Niño has continued to intensify and its effects on marine ecosystems and resources may also increase. On the other hand, the year looks good because in a few months the radar installation in Cocos Island will be completed and will strengthen the capacity of national authorities on issues of control and surveillance of this protected area. Like everyone else, we have a wish list for this 2016, we have issues on which we would like to see progress. Let’s see them: Continue reading

Pulau Mantanani: plastic paradise

Written by Xurxo Fernández, journalist at La Voz de Galicia
Parecía un paraíso...

It looked like paradise…

Very early, before the the boats filled with tourists arrive, a barefoot and shirtless boy pushes a wheelbarrow through the sand. He stops and starts picking up the trash that accumulated the previous day, zigzagging up to the dining table outside. He works meticulously to remove all waste from the access to the hotel, about ten meters wide. The section is short, so he is able to finish soon and he abandones the imaginary path. He moves away from the hotel and pushes his wheelbarrow to the sea.

When the first wheel touches the crystaline water, the boy turns thewheelbarrow nad throughs all contents to the ocean. Bottles, wrappers, food scraps, even a broken sandal, stay together briefly before separating according to their buoyancy. Most plastic floats back to shore, but out of sight. At least out of the sight of the tens of diving enthusiasts who will barely spend half a day on the island, before returning home. Continue reading