Development of economic partnerships between artisanal fisher folk and tourism operators

Competition Finalist

This entry has been selected as a finalist in the
Geotourism Challenge 2010: Places on the Edge - Saving Coastal and Freshwater Destinations competition.

Project will create economic partnerships/opportunities between artisanal fisher folk and the tourism sector by constructing a locally-supported fisheries co-op for certified, sustainably caught products and direct marketing strategy with local hotels/restaurants. Project will construct a marine research center that contributes to responsible tourism development/heritage protection by promoting local SMEs.

About You

Organization: Pretoma Visit websitemore ↓↑ hide↑ hide

Section 1: About You

First Name

Andy

Last Name

Bystrom

Organization

Pretoma

Country

Costa Rica, SJ

Section 2: About Your Organization

Organization Name

Pretoma

Organization Website

Organization Phone

506-2241-5227

Organization Address

Apartado Postal 1203-1100 Tibas, San Jose, Costa Rica

Is your organization a

Non‐profit/NGO/citizen sector organization

Organization Country

Costa Rica, SJ

Your idea

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Name Your Project

Development of economic partnerships between artisanal fisher folk and tourism operators

Country your work focuses on

Costa Rica, GU

Describe Your Idea

Project will create economic partnerships/opportunities between artisanal fisher folk and the tourism sector by constructing a locally-supported fisheries co-op for certified, sustainably caught products and direct marketing strategy with local hotels/restaurants. Project will construct a marine research center that contributes to responsible tourism development/heritage protection by promoting local SMEs.

Would you like to participate in the MIF Opportunity 2010?

Yes

Innovation

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What makes your idea unique and innovative?

Unplanned coastal development, dwindling fish stocks, a lack of employment opportunities, and a loss of heritage are among the foremost concerns of coastal community members in Costa Rica. Without different economic approaches that take advantage of the changing business climate affecting these societies, residents will continue to face increased environmental, economic, and social degradation in already poor communities. An innovative solution to these problems is to form partnerships between local fisher folk and tourism operators that develop responsible fishing techniques that conserve marine resources and a direct marketing model to retain profits and reduce both sectors’ carbon footprint.

This project is facilitating participatory management of coastal resources among 2 artisanal snapper fishing associations and the region’s tourism industry by developing a local niche market for sustainably caught fish. The catch will be sold via a fisheries co-op to hotels and restaurants in neighboring resort communities, thereby taking advantage of the growing demand for local, sustainably caught fish among environmentally conscious visitors to Costa Rica.

The project is currently being evaluated for a Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) international certification. At the present time there are no MSC certified small scale fisheries in Central America and the Caribbean. If successful, the model will be replicated in other coastal fishing communities in the region.

The project will also establish a community based marine research center for national/international students. The center will employ fishermen, young adults, and women and focus on sustainable tourism and natural resource conservation. Students at the center will provide a demand for locally owned SMEs that cater to researcher’s food, lodging, and logistical needs. The center will contribute to a growing sense of stewardship among district residents for the area’s coastal resources.

Do you have a patent for this idea?

Impact

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What impact have you had on your clients and the tourism sector?

In 1997 PRETOMA began a sea turtle conservation project in the district of Bejuco. Today, it has 3 district projects where over 600 tourists and researchers have participated in turtle protection while staying in home-stays or in locally owned cabins. Local community members have been trained to work as turtle naturalists. Local women are contracted to cook meals and in some instances have opened their own SMEs. In 2002 PRETOMA began working with Costa Rica’s Environmental Ministry (MINAET), and the area’s 2 artisanal fishing associations (ASPECOY and BEJUCO) to study local fishing impacts on sea turtles. In 2006 the work lead to the creation and implementation of a sustainable fishing management plan for the district’s 2 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). In 2008 PRETOMA contracted 4 local fisher folk to collect catch data to determine if local snapper stocks were recovering. With the social wellbeing of the local economy linked to the state of the region’s snappers, maintaining the animal’s future abundance is an important step to improving Bejuco resident’s socioeconomic situation. Today, PRETOMA is moving forward with plans to improve the fishery and integrate its products into the tourism market. The NGO is demonstrating how tourism development and local communities can partner for mutual economic benefit. Building on the success of its sea turtle research projects, the organization plans to develop a research center to better facilitate environmental studies and community involvement.

Problem

In Costa Rica, the changing economic climate in the last decade has done little to reduce poverty levels. Low educational levels, unsustainable production methods, unplanned tourism development projects, and primitive infrastructure all present coastal residents and their children with more socioeconomic challenges than opportunities. The climate makes residents in the district of Bejuco vulnerable to environmental changes resulting from global warming, as well as places them in the precarious situation of having their culture and the region’s natural resources exploited and used for the enjoyment of others. The artisanal fishing sector is the principal source of economic production in the district and therefore the main contributor to the area’s economy. But years of overfishing, a national production model that fails to take into account the importance that artisanal fisheries play in rural economies, the lack of partnerships between native organizations and tourism operators, and surging property values that cause residents to sell their lands and abandon their lifestyle have all contributed to the degradation of the country’s coastal resources and social heritage.

Actions

Project members will continue to work with the BEJUCO and ASPECOY associations’ 100 members in their pursuit of an MSC certification. This includes a third party pre-assessment in January, 2011 and subsequent full-assessment.

The project will work to create a direct marketing model between fishers and the tourism industry. In order to accomplish this, project members will work with the fishing associations to establish a fishing co-op and co-op manager who will be responsible for selling sustainably caught snappers directly to Guanacaste hotels and restaurants, thus eliminating the middleman.

The project will promote the initiative to hotels and resorts interested in obtaining the Costa Rican Tourism Institute’s (ICT) eco-tourism certification.

PRETOMA will build a marine research center for national and international students and their professors. Project members will meet with interested parties to develop the center’s curriculum and then locally hire and train a staff to include fishermen, young adults, and women. The center’s operations will promote the design of locally owned/operated SMEs that attend to its visitor’s needs.

Results

Project results will include: a responsible fishing model, management plan, fisher folk co-op, locally supported product market.

International product certification, the benefits of which include: environmental improvements, economic profits, policy influence, cultural gain

Contribution to the sustainable development of both the artisanal fishing and tourism sectors by providing certified organic and/or responsibly produced food to potential ICT “eco” rated hotels

Project will be self sustainable by conserving fishing resources and perpetuating there responsible use. Once successful, this process could be replicated in other fishing/food production sectors throughout the region.

Development of a marine research center will create jobs in the tourism sector and offer capacity building to fishermen, young adults, and women

Projects will yield an eco-tourism/coastal development model that results in local economic benefits and environmental improvements as tourists look forward to consuming local, sustainably caught seafood and jobs and SME opportunities are created through marine research efforts.

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.

Year 1-2
PRETOMA must identify and generate interest among potential snapper market stakeholders and educational institutions for its research center.

While funding has been secured for the MSC certification pre-assessment, scheduled for January 2011, proper recording and relationship building with this funder will be crucial for its continued support for the MSCs full assessment, stakeholder planning and strategic planning phases.

The project must produce marketing, organizational, and financial studies to efficiently develop the fishing co-op and other components.

The project’s success will be contingent on the amount of support it receives from its stakeholders. The continued cooperation and attentiveness of ASPECOY and BEJUCO members to the certification process, implementation of additional fishing guidelines, willingness to organize themselves into a fishing co-op, and desire to assist in the market’s development will be essential to the project.

Open communication between fishermen and NGO members will be critical to the project’s success at every stage.

The project must obtain signed contracts and letters of commitment from its key hotel and restaurant stakeholders that explain how they will support the consumption of sustainable snappers and how they will promote the program to their guests.

With respect to the development of the marine research center, national and international schools and universities will be major stakeholders whose support with be needed in the form of signed contracts. The center’s structural design and an environmental impact study will be necessary components to this project.

Year 3
A healthy snapper population will be necessary to fuel the newly formed market and fishing cooperative’s business interests. Employee recruitment and training must be done in various community sectors to ensure that quality; diverse employees are employed at the research center and are given the tools necessary to develop professional skills and SMEs.

What would prevent your project from being a success?

While the care free attitudes and casual ways of life of fisher folk serve them well on the water, this project will require long term commitments, patience, and at times its participants will encounter a steep learning curve. Unprofessional attitudes and a lack of commitment from any one of the project’s stakeholders will hurt the project’s chances of reaching its full potential.

Not qualifying for the MSC certification would fail to bring the fishery many of the related benefits associated with an eco label. And while it wouldn’t defeat the premium market strategy, it would hurt the way hotels improve their “eco” initiatives by serving organic/sustainable foods.

A breach in the ASPECOY/BEJUCO and PRETOMA relationship at any time could compromise the development/effectiveness of the niche market. If the project’s administrators and stakeholders do not promote the fishery and successfully cater to the demand for sustainably caught fish, then the monetary incentive for fisher folk could be compromised.

The project’s major job creator is its marine research center. Its success (number of students and professors that study there and number of jobs created) will be determined by the quality of its facilities and the service its employees provide. The success of the center will be put in jeopardy if any one of these components is lacking.

While it’s important to project members to contract local residents from different social strata, this initiative could result in jobs being offered to less qualified applicants.

Lack of the community’s and fisher folk’s support (contracted as research boat captains in an attempt to reduce the fishing effort and still provide employment) will prevent the center from reaching its full potential.

Project funding will influence decision making and a lack of financial support would effect the project’s impact.

How many people will your project serve annually?

1001‐10,000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

$100 ‐ 1000

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy or introduce models and tools that benefit the tourism sector in general?

Yes

Sustainability

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What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

In what country?

Costa Rica, GU

Is your initiative connected to an established organization?

Yes

If yes, provide organization name.

PRETOMA

How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs?

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses?

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government?

Yes

Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

Partnerships with stakeholders have been a key element to the project’s maturation and success. The catalyst that began the sustainable artisanal fishing movement was the political will demonstrated by MINAET. The professional relationship that has developed between project members and the Environmental Ministry led to the establishment of the area’s 2 MPAs and responsible fishing management plan. These conservation based initiatives must continue to be nurtured and others must be forged with local and national governmental entities as the project moves into a more sustainable tourism oriented phase. The project is forming relationships with local business owners to better understand their needs, visions for the future, and how they will fit into the sustainable tourism marketplace. Project members have also formed strong partnerships with national and international NGOs and universities. This has allowed for the open flow of ideas, suggestions, and interchange of project results and suggestions regarding funding opportunities. This strong sense of unity of purpose will be critical to the project’s continued success.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization?

Project members must continue to foster relationships with stakeholders and forge new ones if they are to grow the initiative of sustainable fishing, markets, and marine research. The process of facilitating socioeconomic change in these communities needs constant attention. The project must continue to form these relationships but in a way that encourages fishermen to take the initiative and play a proactive part in the project’s development designs to form lasting partnerships with the tourism industry and no longer view the project as a charitable initiative. If a greater sense of local ownership can be achieved, the project will have a greater chance at achieving long term sustainability.

Fundraising has been, is, and will be critical to the project’s local success and to its replication in other fisheries in Central America and the Caribbean. The project has identified rural fishing communities whose residents suffer from a lack of sustainable economic opportunities and has provided data that supports the feasibility of new economic paradigms and practices. At this point, no project participant wants to see the initiative get left along the roadside for lack of stakeholder and financial support.

The third important action is to develop a marketing strategy that will clearly define the steps necessary to develop the research center and snapper market. While the NGO has successfully managed its sea turtle conservation/tourism projects for over 10 years, the current initiative has matured to the point where an economic approach needs to complement the biological one. At the present time its members have little experience with the development of competitive marketing strategies necessary to attract universities to the research center and consumer buy-in to the fishery’s market. Because of this, it’s important that the project partner with organizations that can provide this kind of expertise.

The Story

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What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

PRETOMA began as a sea turtle protection organization and has maintained turtle nesting beach conservation projects in the district of Bejuco since 1997. Because of this, it was not the NGO’s original intention to work with the district’s artisanal fisher folk because their techniques do not result in sea turtle bycatch. But little by little it became clear that improving the fishing industry would in turn improve the local economy. As the NGO’s initiatives and the community’s confidence in environmental protection efforts grew stronger and more related, PRETOMA became faced with the question of how to help even more.

In the mid 2000s, more time and resources were invested in data analysis and in political initiatives like the establishment of MPAs, management plans, and on stricter sanctions against those fisher folk (most are from other communities up to 80 km away) who illegally fish inside the protected areas. All of this research and relationship building was building up to something, but exactly what that was, was still unclear. Though the project is truly a group effort on many levels, Andy Bystrom’s (project manager) knowledge of international product certification models and vision of more defined research initiatives that attract international students and provide local employment opportunities, has propelled the project into its current stage.

On a recent trip to the project site, a beaten-up surfboard was spotted being nailed to a tree in front of the fishing docks. It had been painted black and in yellow letters was written “ASPECOY Asociación de Pescadores Coyoteños—Fomentando la pesca sostenible” (ASPECOY Association of Coyote Fishermen—Fomenting sustainable fishing). While probably not a defining moment, seeing this sign certainly showed project members that the community’s mission and vision reflect their own.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

The project’s innovator, Andy Bystrom, moved to Costa Rica from the United States in 2007 to pursue a master’s degree in natural resource management. His involvement with PRETOMA began in 2008 while working on his graduate research in the socioeconomic and environmental impacts of artisanal fishing. After experiencing first hand the multitude of problems that confront coastal community residents, he designed a sustainable fishing certification strategy, niche market, and marine research center to spur economic growth and preserve the area’s coastal heritage. Bystrom credits many of these ideas to his decision to study at a Costa Rican national university (UNED) where he was made aware (often forcibly) of the economic benefits that tourism brings to a select few and the cultural conflicts it sometimes creates. Being a foreign citizen and realizing the appeal that Costa Rica has on tourists and that the influx of travelers will only increase in the foreseeable future, he wanted to contribute to relationship building efforts between local residents and the tourism industry.

Bystrom holds an undergraduate degree in Biology from Roanoke College in Roanoke, Virginia, USA. He has worked as a science teacher in Quito, Ecuador, has 4 years of business administration experience as a manager for Vail Resorts, Inc., and has designed a public relations campaign for marine and watershed conservation projects in the Chesapeake Bay, USA. He is a freelance journalist and has published many environmental articles on his work and experiences. His diverse biology and business background gives him a unique perspective for solving sustainability problems.

While Bystrom has dedicated the last 3 years to working on community conservation initiatives in Costa Rica, this project’s true Changemakers are the men and women who have spent their entire lives as BEJUCO and ASPECOY bottom longline artisanal snapper fisher folk. Their willingness to cut up miles and miles of fishing nets and to adopt more environmentally sustainable techniques is a fishing behavior model that, if replicated, would improve the responsible use of coastal fishing resources all over the planet. They then asked organizations like PRETOMA for help to improve their level of economic development. Development efforts undertaken by Bystrom have been constructed to duly compensate these fishermen for their efforts and willingness to change.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Through another organization or company

If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company

The World Society of the Protection of Animals (WSPA)

MIF Opportunity 2010

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Has your organization been legally constituted or registered in your country or one of your target countries for at least three years?

Yes

Does the applicant organization have sufficient financial resources to guarantee the co-financing required by MIF during the execution period of the project? (This amounts to at least 50% of the project’s total budget with 25% in cash and 25% in-kind.)

Yes

Does the applicant organization have experience managing projects co-financed by international organizations? Please describe below

Yes. PRETOMA has, since it’s inception in 1997, managed projects co-financed by international organizations. Some examples of this management strategy involve match grants from The Sustainable Fisheries Fund (Sacramento, California) in 2007 and 2010, Conservation International (San José, Costa Rica) in 2006-2010, the Whitley Fund for Nature (London, England) and the BBC Wildlife Fund (London, England) in 2006-2010. More examples and detailed financial statements will be provided upon request.

Please classify the applicant organization according to the options below

What problem-area does your project address?

Access to markets.

How will your project address this problem?

In Costa Rica, the changing economic climate in the last decade – one that includes massive coastal tourism development efforts – has done little to reduce poverty levels in the local population (Programa Estado de la Nación, 2007). Aside from this problem, there is growing public and governmental concern that the negative impacts from large scale tourism developments along the region’s northern coast will soon spread southward into the district of Bejuco (Honey et al., 2010).

On a local level, years of overfishing, a national production model that fails to take into account the importance that artisanal fisheries play in rural economies, habitat destruction caused by coastal tourism development, and surging land values have all contributed to the degradation of Costa Rica’s near shore marine resources and coastal heritage. The climate makes residents in the district of Bejuco – a district marked by some of the highest levels of poverty in the country – vulnerable to environmental changes resulting from global warming, and places them in the precarious situation of having their culture and the region’s natural resources exploited and used for the benefit of others. While the district’s poor infrastructure (dirt roads and in some cases the absence of bridges) has inhibited locally based economic growth, it has also abated the development explosion experienced in nearby coastal areas. However, rising property values and mounting pressures from developers all signal that tourism development is coming to the district.

Given that tourism is the number one contributor to Costa Rica’s Gross Domestic Product and essential to the country’s economic well being, and that the artisanal fishing sector is the main source of production in the district of Bejuco and therefore the principal contributor to the local economy, an innovative solution to the aforementioned problems is to develop partnerships, market strategies, and sustainable tourism opportunities between these 2 sectors.

To accomplish this, the project will work with the area’s 2 fishing associations (BEJUCO and ASPECOY) to develop responsible fishing techniques, apply for a Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) internationally recognized product certification, and together will the region’s hotels, restaurants and other tourism operators to develop a direct marketing model for sustainably caught artisanal snapper. A fishing co-op will be established to manage the chain of custody between fisher folk and consumers, thus eliminating the middleman. With many tourists in Costa Rica already asking themselves, “How can I help these people?”, the market’s demand will be driven by the tourism industry’s promotion of its support for local fisher folk and the artisanal fishing industry’s efforts to apply its trade responsibly and offer tourists a superior quality product.

Advantages associated with an international certification include environmental improvements, economic profits, policy influence, and social gain. The coastal fishing associations of Bejuco may be the first in Central America and the Caribbean to benefit from an MSC international certification. Likewise, the development of a responsible artisanal fishing model and its accompanying niche market will provide an economic incentive for fishermen to work in an environmentally responsible manner. This will in turn provide for the sustainable use of local fish stocks and allow the growing tourism industry to contribute to the sustainable socioeconomic growth of coastal communities and the preservation of coastal traditions in Costa Rica. If successful, the model will be replicated at other coastal fishing communities in the region. This model can be applied to other food products as well. This can be done, for example, by working with local farmers to convert their farms to produce organic products, and then marketing these “green” foods to local tourism establishments.

In conjunction with the sustainable fishing design and product market, the project will establish a marine research center in the district. The center will provide job training to local residents and ultimately enhance community access to the sustainable tourism market. The center will consolidate the project’s existing sea turtle volunteer programs and combine stronger scientific research and human dimensions elements for national and foreign researchers, professors, and their students to study. The center’s operation will fit into the sustainable fisheries scheme by employing local fisher folk as professional boat captains and guides to assist in research efforts. With this employment option firmly in place, fisher folk will reduce their combined fishing effort by working for the center. Fish stock abundance will benefit from the reduced fishing effort and the sector will still enjoy employment options within their field of interest.

The influx of students, volunteers, and researchers at the center will contribute to the district’s economic growth. In addition to employing local fishermen, other community members (many of whom are young adults that have grown-up and matured through the project’s existing sea turtle nesting beach projects) will be trained as naturalists. Local women will be contracted to cook meals and will be given the opportunity to open their own SMEs as demand for additional tourism services grows, thus positively contributing to the district’s social development.

Consulted Literature:

Honey, M., Vargas, E. y Durham, W. (2010). Impacto del Turismo Relacionado con el Desarrollo en la Costa Pacífica de Costa Rica: Informe Ejecutivo. Center for Responsible Travel. Washington D.C. En Prensa.

Programa Estado de la Nación. (2007). Decimotercer Informe Estado de la Nación en Desarrollo Humano Sostenible. El Programa. San José, Costa Rica.

Who is benefited by the initiative? (Please highlight the type and number of beneficiaries, and their role in the tourism value-chain.)

The project is designed to benefit a wide range of stakeholders and individuals. Both the ASPECOY and BEJUCO fishing associations are involved in the MSC certification process. Each association has approximately 50 members. In addition, local women (10 per association) contribute to the fishing industry as they are contracted to straighten, repair, and bait the bottom longlines used to catch snapper. All of these individuals would benefit from sustainable fish stocks and a robust product market. These members of the local fishing community are cultural groups that can enhance the tourists’ experience once they arrive at their destination and could also contribute to the visitor’s experience by offering local sight seeing and fishing tours.

There are over 100 upscale restaurants and/or hotels in the region that fit into the tourism value-chain by providing accommodation and food to their guests. All of these establishments could offer sustainably caught fish to their visitors, thereby promoting the tourism sector’s participation in sustainable fishing/travel efforts. But the relationship between these snapper fisher folk and hotel operators goes deeper than this. Many of these hotels are in the process of applying for their own sustainable tourism certifications offered through Costa Rica’s Tourism Institute (ICT). Because this certification stipulates that “eco” rated hotels must serve a certain percentage of certified organic and responsibly produced food, the sustainable snapper market will contribute to the environmental responsibility of these hotels and once a certification is secured, contribute to their market appeal. In addition, businesses will benefit from providing their clients with a tangible way to support the development of coastal communities. This will be a win-win for both sectors.

The operations of the marine research center will provide accommodations for tourists/researchers as well as directly impact the guest’s experience. Whenever possible, local employees will be contracted. From this resource pool, the project will focus on providing employment opportunities to include young adults and women, in addition to local fishermen. The number of center employees will depend on researcher demand and is expected to increase as the operation becomes more established. Taking into account the basic operations such as cooking, maintenance, transportation, security, etc. it’s anticipated that the number of locally hired individuals will begin between 15-20 people.

There are secondary effects that student based research initiatives will have on the area. Over time, increasing numbers of students/tourists will strengthen the demand for other services inherent in the tourism value chain such as transportation providers, souvenir providers, tours, lodging, and dinning options not provided by the center. Development of these services represents opportunities for community members to establish SMEs. The center’s employees will have direct contact with researchers from around the world. Local youth who show an interest in biology and marine conservation will be given opportunities to improve there English conversation skills and make high level contacts in the research field. The experience could very well open doors to higher educational opportunities that currently do not exist in the district.

How will the project's results assist the region’s tourism sector and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises?

Many tourism operations in Costa Rica promote their businesses as sustainable. In fact, there are so many “eco” lodges, that it’s difficult for the average tourist to know if their chosen hotel/lodge is in fact committed socially, environmentally, and economically to responsible business practices. This project’s objective is to develop a way for managers of hotels and restaurants to form relationships with native groups of artisanal fisher folk in order to establish a sustainable product market that both promotes the corporate responsibility of these tourism operations, in addition to conserving the country’s coastal resources and empowering culturally important groups of native Costa Rican’s to improve their level of socio-economic development. In addition, the project focuses on building a tourism sector that is supported by the expertise of local residents and based on the creation of local employment opportunities.

As coastal societies are made up of more than just fisher folk, the project is focused on providing employment opportunities to multiple social groups. The short term benefits of the marine research center will include employment opportunities directly associated with the center’s operations. However, as project leaders have witnessed with the success of their sea turtle nesting projects, the arrival of tourists/researchers provides diverse employment opportunities. Local women have opened up small food counters in the district and local families have built additional bedrooms into their houses to provide room and board for project participants. Area youth have learned English and now work as turtle naturalists. And the same is anticipated for the research center. It will start as an all inclusive program where students and researchers stay and eat at the center. But as its programs grow, it’s anticipated that additional dining and lodging options will be needed, along with a variety of other tourism services. Training will be provided so that local youth can become certified naturalists and begin their own professional careers alongside national and international researchers. The community’s economic dependence on fishing will be reduced by employing fishermen as boat captains, thus providing employment options for recreational fishing, site seeing, wildlife viewing, and snorkeling tours. The opportunities are only limited to the creativeness and dedication of the local population to the development of a community based tourism sector. Project members will work to support these initiatives by developing the curriculum and infrastructure needed to attract visitors to the center.

The truly remarkable part about this region of Costa Rica is the marine habitat and traditional coastal heritage that exist in the district. The concern is that external development pressures will adversely transform this unique environment. Once set in motion, environmental and social degradation is difficult to stop and even more difficult to reverse. However, this project has a window of opportunity to engage stakeholders, and perhaps with the IDB MIF’s help, to establish a proactive initiative aimed at responsibly managing the area’s marine resources and burgeoning tourism market.

It’s feared that if the project is not funded, development trends in Costa Rica will continue to cause environmental and social damage in these coastal areas. This will in turn set a detrimental president for tourism projects in Central America and the Caribbean.

A. Total Budget (100%)

US$766,700

B. MIF Contribution (up to 50% of total budget and US$. 500.000 max)

US$383,350

C. Cash co-financing (at least 25% of total budget)

US$220,000

D. In kind co-financing (at least 25% of total budget)

US$163,350

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aspecoy_responsible_fishing_sign.jpg34.38 KB
sustainably_caught_spotted_snapper.jpg34.36 KB
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fixing_the_bottom_longline.jpg36.15 KB
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aspecoy_fishermen_leaving_for_the_night.jpg26.51 KB
bejuco_fishing_association.jpg33.95 KB
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andy_bejuco_children.jpg79.16 KB
research_team.jpg84.03 KB
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Comments

Reynaldo Nava Ramírez profile img
Wed, 11/10/2010 - 02:05

Me doy cuenta que en diferentes localidades tenemos similares problematicas, la aducación ambiental es un reto ante comunidades con altas necesidades económicas, tu idea será un buen impulso en este rubro y creo que se necesitará también una excelente estrategia de comunicación.

Aca en el alto golfo de California tenemos pesquerías artesanales que extraen por medio del buceo con altas utilidades pues son productos de exportación, pero en caso de promover desarrollos Ecoturísticos al rededor del Golfo de Santa Clara podrían con tu estrategia generarse nuevas pesquerías organicas certificadas.

Andy Bystrom profile img
Wed, 11/10/2010 - 12:19

Hola Reynaldo,

Gracias por su comentario. Parece que la situación de los pescadores artesanales en el alto Golfo de CA es muy parecida a nuestra situación aquí en CR. Pues, todos los pargos que los pescadores extraen ahora van a un intermediario, luego a otro intermediario, y a final de cuentas a una planta de procesamiento para su exportación. Mejor mantener el recurso en la comunidad (o por lo menos en CR), así garantizando a los pescadores un mejor precio y a la vez menos impacto ambiental (carbon footprint). Me gustaría seguir compartiendo experiencias, pues por eso sirve el proyecto de Changemakers. Ahora hay mas evidencia que este proyecto es replicable a otras pesquerías y regiones. Adelante...

Saludos,

Andy Bystrom

Reynaldo Nava Ramírez profile img
Mon, 11/22/2010 - 13:49

Aca en CEDO tenemos un área de Pesquerías qu ya tiene varios años funcionando, Ivan es un compañero el cual trabaja con una Cooperativa que ya llegó ya al punto de exportar directamente además que lo hacen de una manera Certificada y Sustentable, le comenté de nuestro interacción y le pedí que nos apoyara con la experiencia que el tiene si es de tu interés, nuestra área de pesquerías es experimentada y creo que si resulta productivo el compartir las experiencias, porque no?.

Andy Bystrom profile img
Tue, 11/23/2010 - 11:59

Hola Reynaldo e Ivan,
Es una pesquería de langosta? Pregunto porque he escuchado de una pesquería certificada de langosta de México.
Si, definitivamente los intermediarios les preocupan a los pescadores artesanales de pequeña escala de Costa Rica. Parece que ustedes lograron organizarse para formar una cooperativa. EN eso estamos nosotros pero sería interesante ver como lo hicieron. Otra cosa, ¿ustedes lograron desarrollar un mercado de exportación para sus productos certificados? ¿Las ventas traen más beneficios económicos que las de antes? Nosotros queremos sobre todo vender los pargos a hoteles y resorts locales para desminuir la huella de carbón de los turistas y toda la industria. Sería interesante hacer un tipo de intercambio de pescadores para que aprendan de las técnicas y estrategias del mercado de otras pesquerías! Estamos en contacto.

Saludos,

Andy

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 17:40

Saludos Andy y Reynaldo:

Soy nuevo en este sitio pero veo que es un sitio interesante para conocer como algunas personas estan lidiando con los mismos males que nosotros en nuestro pais. Como comenta Reynaldo, actualmente vivimos lo que se vive en todo el mundo cuando hablamos de pesca de pequeña escala. Entre muchos otros problemas, tenemos el intermediarismo, que lucra (no siempre) con la necesidad del pescador y aunque asume riesgos (como perdida del producto) muchas veces su ganancia es mucho mayor sin realizar la ardua labor de pesca. Un tema primordial fue conocer a fondo la estructura de trabajo del sector, como estan organizados (o desorganizados)y el por que de esa organizacion, que en ocasiones obedece a disputas en el pasado o malas experiencias. Pero en definitiva creo firmemente en que una base solida en este tema permite despues realizar mejoras a diferentes niveles.
Saludos

Olivier CHASSOT profile img
Mon, 11/22/2010 - 11:24

Congratulations on such a wonderful initiative. Linking local fishermen at their professional association and organizational level with end-users of fish products such as local hotels catering to eco-tourists is deemed to achieve success, especially because there is a sense of holistic and integrated approach to conservation goals. Fishermen probably have seen how fish populations are diminishing in size and quantity. Looking for economic alternatives and livelihood will certainly help to lobbying for conservation at the local level while diversifying sources of income.

Andy Bystrom profile img
Mon, 11/22/2010 - 13:08

Thank you very much Dr. Chassot. You've summed up the project better than I could have! If you have any suggestions, I'm all ears. Looking ahead, I'll certainly need some outside help putting together a solid business plan for the market's development. Right now we're concentrating on the biology and making sure that the fisher folk are applying their trade in a sustainable way. Estamos en contacto.
Saludos,

Andy Bystrom

Reynaldo Nava Ramírez profile img
Wed, 11/24/2010 - 23:20

La zona del Mar de Cortés es históricamente muy productiva, pero ya hace algunos años se han dejado ver los estragos de la pesca tradicional, primero la Totoaba fué llevada al borde de la extinción, siendo el primer pez en la categoría, después la extracción del caracol chino donde se llego a extremos similares, el camarón fué un producto de excelente calidad y muy abundante, hoy no pudeo afirmar que siga siendo de la misma manera, ha bajado mucho la extracción pero puede deberse a otras variables, el producto que se monitorea es la almeja generosa o Panopea Generosa dónde se han desarrollado planes de manejo o Manifiestos de Impacto ambiental, envío un video de la extracción, pero no es en nuestra región que es cerca del Delta del Río Colorado.
http://www.cabovision.tv/video/542/Inicia-temporada-de-Almeja-Generosa

Gracias por la interacción y apoyo a los dos.

Michael Johnson profile img
Wed, 01/26/2011 - 19:13

muy buena onda Andy
tenemos la misma en El Salvador y Guatemala
cuidate mucho

Senor Pescador

www.fairtradefish.org

www.fishermansculturalsociety.org

Wed, 02/02/2011 - 18:45

Mucha suerte para Andy y Cº!!