In September, we launched the newest CAVU outreach campaign and video Responsible Fishing Areas: Palito, Chira with our partner INCOPESCA – Costa Rica’s Fish and Aquaculture Institute. Palito is the first Responsible Fishing Area of Costa Rica in the region of the Gulf of Nicoya. The video tells the story of Palitos’s struggle and fight to remain a fishing community as fish stocks plummet at rates not seen before. The campaign will recount their stories in other communities so that Responsible Fishing Areas can expand and aid in increasing fish stocks.
The film was first premiered at the Casa Presidential (Costa Rican Presidential Offices) where the First Vice President Alfio Piva, the Executive President of INCOPESCA Luis Dobles and the Technical Director of INCOPESCA Antonio Porras all attended along with vice-ministers representing Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of the Environment and Energy. The President of the Handline Fishermen Association of Palito de Chira Esteban García and fellow fisher Eugenia Fernández, both on their first ever visit to Casa Presidencial, gave an emotional address to the audience after the screening of the video. After watching the documentary and the display of joy, pain and pride by these fishermen, the Vice President had a few words for the audience, stating his admiration for the work of this community and the significative importance of this INCOPESCA initiative to rescue and protect the fisheries in the country, mainly in the Gulf of Nicoya.
The following morning Government members, including the First Vice President, officers of INCOPESCA, media members and CAVU traveled to Palito on the island of Chira for the video’s local premiere. With fishermen, community members, students and visitors all crammed into a small classroom of a local school, CAVU screened the film. Laughing and tears of triumph were visible as the Association fishermen recognized themselves and their many efforts to save their fishing community. The Vice President addressed the audience, praising local stewardship and defence of the fishery stating “It is a great honor to be here with you today, because responsible fishing benefits us all. This community is a great example for Costa Rica, that you can grow and move forward hand in hand with the environment”.
There’s still a long way to go before responsible fishing in the region has social and economic success. CAVU and INCOPESCA will continue to work on the educational workshops to bring the concept of responsible fishing and the AMPR tool across the region. We look forward to updating you on this second stage of the outreach campaign.