Threatened Species & Habitats- First Marine Census in Las Catalinas, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
The project’s long-term goal is to document and ultimately protect sensitive marine life in the Tropical East Pacific of Costa Rica, specifically in the area of Las Catalinas. T0 launch this project with our partners at Ocean First Institute and our colleagues at the University of Costa Rica and ConnectOcean, we collaborated to begin a scientific census of fish, sharks, and rays in the Guanacaste region. Though heavily overfished, the area has tremendous but undocumented biodiversity which is currently threatened by unregulated and expanding destructive fishing practices. Multiple user groups including fishers and divers compete for access to limited resources that garner direct and immediate economic benefits to the region. In collaboration with our colleagues to begin the census, we:
- deployed multiple BRUV (baited underwater video)
- deployed two VEMCO acoustic receivers and three tags
- trained divers to download acoustic receiver data
- trained divers to use laser photogrammetry to measure sharks and rays
- trained divers to collect resource-user data
As baseline data is collected, information about species abundances and resource-use patterns can be shared with local fishery managers and local communities for use in their public process of marine spatial planning towards a more sustainable future of the Guanacaste coast, Costa Rica.