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

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

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

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