Gulf of Nicoya fishermen taking conservation lead

Costa Rica

In 2008, the fisheries of Costa Rica’s Gulf of Nicoya verged on collapse. Desperate fishermen were harvesting even the smallest of fish. Laws were weak, enforcement lax. Then something unusual happened. Fishermen, realizing their plight and running out of options, began to organize. They asked the government for restrictions that would limit them to a single hook and line. Nets, veritable killing machines that had swept the ocean floor clean, were outlawed. International funders—among them the Walton Foundation, operated by the family that owns the U.S.-based Wal-Mart chain—took notice. Grants for baseline studies flowed. Now, the fishing has begun to improve. On a sultry morning in the Gulf of Nicoya, Costa Rican fisherman Gabriel Cruz provides proof. He sits with his... [Log in to read more]

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