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Activist from Documentary “Sharkwaters” to Visit Nosara

By Adam Dietrich

Local conservationists have attracted the attention of William Flores, a responsible fishing advocate and well known activist who participated in the famous documentary “Sharkwater” will be making a three day trip to Nosara to educate youth and adults.

Flores will be touring schools from July 17 to July 20 and will give a presentation to the community in the Nosara’s soccer field at 7pm on the 20th. Flores says he was interested in coming here after learning of the conservation efforts by the newly founded Fishers Association.

“He was in contact with us about our recent fishing tournament, which was to raise awareness about responsible fishing,” says Martin Chacón Rodríguez a founding member of the Nosara Fishers Association. “We stayed in touch and he agreed to come here.”

Fisherman and conservationist William Flores with Andrea Ferris receiving
an award for their participation in the "One sea of signatures for responsible
fishing" campaign.

Chacón says the association’s goal is responsible fishing, which falls right in line with the work that Flores does with the Costa Rican Fishing Association (Federacion Costarricense de Pesca FECOP).  Responsible fishing to Chacón means sustainable fishing practices, which ensure that fish stocks will remain, and stay vibrant.

It’s an issue in Nosara says Chacón. “Only a few years ago I would stand in the estuary at Boca Nosara and the whole water would be filled with sardines, and fish eating them.” He says that now seeing a hearty sardine stock like that is a rare thing to witness and that this could be a sign that unsustainable fishing practices in Boca Nosara and Playa Pelada may be affecting the area.

According to Chacón, net fishing and long line fishing are the easiest ways to ensure a good catch but that these are not the most sustainable practices. Yet fishers who depend on good catches to feed their families often don’t consider the implications of over fishing. “The solution is the younger generation, to teach them to be better and to take better care,” says Chacón.

That’s where Flores comes in. Flores says he has been working for the last 17 and half years against illegal and unsustainable forms of fishing and especially against the practice of shark finning. During his stay in Nosara he will speak to several schools about shark finning, intensive fishing, long lines, shrimping and the importance of taking care of the ocean.

In 2006, Flores gained international notoriety after he helped bring a crew to film a documentary about shark conservation, called “Sharkwater”, to private docks in Puntarenas where shark finning was happening.

The practice, which involves catching a shark and killing it for its fin is second only to drugs in value.  Flores says one kilo of shark fin can fetch up to $500.  The fins are sold in Asia to make a shark fin soup, the demand for which has skyrocketed in recent years.

While shark finning is not an issue in Nosara, there are other issues, which could directly impact local people if not addressed. Illegal shrimp fishing with chemicals, illegal long-line fishing and over fishing with nets are some of the issues facing waters off to coast of Nosara and Garza.


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