A women’s cooperative develops a project for sustainable conservation

A group of 47 women affiliated with the organization, CoopeMolusChomes RL, which are part of the Network of Marine Areas for Responsible Fishing and Marine Life Territories, develop efforts to conservation and sustainable use of mangroves in Chomes, Province of Puntarenas, a marine resource that constitutes one of the main sources of employment in this community of costarican Central pacific.

According to Aracelly Jiménez, president of CoopeMolusChomes RL, over the past 7 years, workers dedicated to the extraction of molluscs (pianguas, clams, mussels and choras) have planted around 20,000 trees called red mangrove or red mangrove to allow the reproduction of the fauna of the place, however, that this effort was little recognized by the institutions.

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“For us, it is important that the mangrove to be kept in very good condition from an environmental point of view because it represents the most important place of work and a good part of the income of our families comes from it. Despite all these efforts, it has been very difficult to move forward because state institutions do not recognize that, from civil society too, we fishermen support these territories of marine life through the conservation, ”Jiménez explained.

The Cooperative, made up of 52 members in total, was created in 2014 to bring together workers from the local shellfish industry, which is deeply rooted in the local economy. This group is located in the district of Chomes, which has a population of around 6,000 people in a location on the banks of the Guacimal and Lagartos rivers where mollusc activity is supplemented by artisanal fishing.

In collaboration with CoopeSoliDar RL, a participatory plan for the management of molluscs in the area is developed in order to formalize the activity and improve the quality of life. This initiative is the first of its kind to be carried out in the country. In addition to promoting the regeneration of the mangrove, the women of CoopeMolus Chomes RL they perform two days of solid waste cleaning per month.

“Every fortnight, we visit the place to keep it as clean as possible from this type of waste from the greater metropolitan area. We found everything: plastics, bottles, chairs, bags, shoes, etc. Once we have collected this contaminating material, it is disposed of in a municipal landfill for its proper treatment, ”said the president of CoopeMolusChomes RL

Exemplary work

According to the study “Women in the artisanal fishing value chain” carried out by CoopeSoliDar RL The work of the members of the Chomes cooperative has enabled them to “empower themselves in a workspace” which is of vital importance to improve the quality of life of families.

“The women of Chomes have become aware of the importance of responsible fishing, respect for closures, authorized gear and the progress of mangrove exploitation plans”, indicates the “Case study: Towards a national recognition of the voices of women of rivers, seas, coasts and wetlands in Costa Rica ”.

Ivannia Ayales Cruz, President of CoopeSoliDar RL noted that the work of the women of Chomes in favor of the protection of the mangrove is a “case of success almost unique in Latin America because it has demonstrated the power of community action in promoting sustainable development using this source of income.

In Costa Rica, mangroves are among the most developed and diversified in Latin America and cover 0.7% of the national territory with an approximate area of ​​44,000 hectares. 99% is located in the Pacific, where there are 80 mangroves and 1% in the Caribbean. The most extensive mangrove is that of Térraba-Sierpe.

Costa Rica Resonance

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Virginia S. Braud