The Serengeti!

Costa Rica is part of the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape

Costa Rica is part of the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape

We hear it all the time, and yet it still doesn’t seem clear enough that a healthy ocean is paramount for our own survival. Our ocean makes up the Earth’s primary life support system, comprising 70 percent of our planet’s surface and 99 percent of our world’s biosphere — the fragile part of our planet in which life takes place.

So how do we make sure that everybody is using our shared marine resources responsibly? Well… it’s not easy. Continue reading

What are Seascapes?

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Seascapes are strategy for large-scale marine protection and management pioneered by Conservation International.

Costa Rica, as all countries who enjoy having a coastline, owns sovereignty over its waters (its Exclusive Economic Zone, or EZZ) and so, we get to determine how we manage our marine and coastal resources. But fish and whales don’t respect national boundaries. That makes effective management and preservation a challenge: different countries with different takes and ideas, but connected to the same area of sea. Continue reading

Bikes, the solution

Roberto Guzmán Fernández,  ChepeCletas director

 

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One of Chepe Cleta’s night tours

Many times we simply wait for something to happen and we settle by thinking that it’s the authorities’ responsibility to improve our quality of life. We complain when we are not satisfied but rarely propose anything or act to change things. Thankfully there are groups within civil society that have started to change our reality, they stopped waiting for change and started working.

There are many aspects of daily life in our country that can be  improved. One of them is the way we commute to our work or to run errands. Nowadays most of our trips use fossil fuels, which not only implies a heavy expenditure but also has negative effects on the quality of the air we breath, creates sonic pollution, promotes a sedentary lifestyle, just to name a few consequences.

Continue reading

Sad coincidences

Marco Quesada, director of Conservation International Costa Rica

There was an accident on the Gulf of Nicoya yesterday: 180 tons of ammonium nitrate fell into the ocean when the barge that was transporting the cargo to Fertica’s property sank. Ammonium nitrate is a water-soluble salt that is frequently used as an agricultural fertilizer. Under certain circumstances, this substance can be explosive and special measures need to be taken during its transport and storage. 

AvOL-TtPZETelgnq5f_33v3s90wbksvVhkUBpk3CDSS9The Gulf of Nicoya is Costa Rica’s biggest estuary, and its most productive. It’s relatively shallow, its waters are well mixed and it’s surrounded by mangroves and muddy beaches. Circulation of fish and shrimp larvae in the Gulf is very complex and depends on tides and rivers entering the estuary.

Despite of the thousands of families that depend on fishing and that this system has been over exploited for decades probably, so far INCOPESCA hasn’t taken effective measures for its sustainable management. 

 

At this time, National Emergency Commission has only shared a short release in which a small area inside the Gulf is delimitated, area that seems limited considering existing currents. As a matter of fact, CIMAR had already issued warnings about strong waves in the area during this weekend.

This is where we notice a sad coincidence. Some months ago, a catamaran with tourists onboard also sank in Puntarenas, during a time when strong waves had been predicted. We can’t help but wonder if the sunken barge took all the necessary precautions to face such conditions.

Why is it, that even if preventive warnings have been issued, such regrettable emergencies have happened in such a small period of time?  We also wonder if we have an emergency protocol for the unloading of such kinds of materials, in biologically- sensitive and highly populated areas. Which are the responsible institutions, the ones that should oversee the application of such a protocol?

Transport of dangerous materials by sea, such as ammonium nitrate, is internationally regulated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), particularly through the SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) and MARPOL (Marine Pollution) agreements. Our country has not ratified the 1996 SOLAS agreement nor the MARPOL convention, not even any of its anexes. Going through our National Plan for Risk Management, we cannot find any concrete mention of any marine or coastal situations. We understand this is a guide document, and we hope there are updated and effective documents in our country, in order to manage these kinds of emergencies.

We’ll see what happens, but we deeply regret that this emergency was not prevented.

Read more here.

 

Miles de familias viven de la pesca pero el golfo tiene décadas de ser sobre pescado

Nature is Speaking

The voices of Nature is Speaking

The voices of Nature is Speaking

Harrison Ford, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Edward Norton, Penélope Cruz, Robert Redford, Ian Somerhalder and Lupita Nyong´o have donated their voice so nature can, literally, talk to us.

Nature doesn’t need people. People need nature.

Human beings are part of nature.

Nature is not dependent on human beings to exist.

Human beings, on the other hand, are totally

dependent on nature to exist.

The growing number of people on the planet

and how we live here is going to determine the future of nature.

And the future of us.

It will evolve.

The question is, will it be with us or without us?

If nature could talk, it would probably say it doesn’t much matter either way.

We must understand there are aspects of how our planet evolves

that are totally out of our control.

But there are things that we can manage,

control and do responsibly that will allow us

and the planet to evolve together.

We are Conservation International and we need

your help. Our movement is dedicated to managing

those things we can control. Better.

Country by country.

Business by business.

Human by human.

We are not about us vs. them.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an American,

a Canadian

or a Papua New Guinean.

You don’t even have to be particularly fond of the ocean

or have a soft spot for elephants.

This is simply about all of us coming together

to do what needs to be done.

Because if we don’t, nature will continue to evolve. Without us.

Here’s to the future. With humans.