In this project, our goal is to induce Costa Rican artisanal fishermen communities to apply only those criteria, gear and fishing technologies that preserve the biodiversity of marine ecosystems and ensure the future sustainability of the resource.
To achieve success, both biologically and economically, it is not enough achieving the commitment of fishermen to eradicate trawling, shark finning and any form of illegal fishing of protected species. It is also imperative that the project include alternative sources of income that support the basic economy of the humble coastal communities and minimize the ever-present threat of drug trafficking.
From the work of our team and the international experience, evidence arises that the best complementary activity is: ecotourism. The communities dedicated to artisanal fishing are progressively engaging to the implementation of special spaces into their vessels for the reception of a limited number of tourists interested in experiencing live marine life. This transformation requires the physical adaptation of the ships and the training of the onboard personnel for the reception of international tourism.
For the Oceans Foundation leads this project to facilitate the entry of artisanal fishers to the new opportunities, in a first stage that includes the adaptation and training of 53 families that have already signed their participation commitment to evaluate and adjust the impact of the project before to start a second stage involving 650 families in the sector.
Successful implementation of this project will have a decisive influence on the life and subsistence of the 16,000 families of artisanal fishermen in Costa Rica, and could be replicated at Central American and Latin American level.
In addition, For the Oceans has been able to add to its initiative the Association of Artisans of Sarchí, Costa Rica, to train fishermen’s families in the elaboration of handcraft pieces that they can sell as a source of income complementary to the ecotourism project, as well as the decoration of its boats with traditional local motifs.
Let us do not forget that the creation of alternative means of subsistence is also a powerful tool to curb the influence of drug trafficking in the impoverished coastal communities.