A group of 47 women affiliated with the organization, CoopeMolusChomes RL, who are part of the Network of Marine Areas for Responsible Fishing and Marine Life Territories, develop efforts aimed at the conservation and sustainable use of the mangrove in Chomes, Province of Puntarenas, marine resource that constitutes one of the main generating sources of employment in that community of the Costa Rican Central Pacific.
According to Aracelly Jiménez, President of CoopeMolusChomes RL, in the last 7 years the workers dedicated to the extraction of molluscs (pianguas, clams, mussels and choras) have planted about 20 thousand trees called red mangrove or red mangrove in order to allow the reproduction of the fauna of the place, however, that this effort has been little recognized by the institutions.
“For us it is important that the mangrove be kept in very good condition from the environmental point of view because it represents the most important workplace and a good part of the income for our families comes from there. Despite all this effort, it has been very difficult to move forward because the State institutions do not recognize that also from civil society we fishermen support these marine life territories through conservation,” Jiménez explained.
The Cooperative, made up of 52 members in total, was created in 2014, in order to bring together workers from the local shellfish extraction industry that is deeply rooted in the local economy. This group is located in the District of Chomes, which has a population of approximately 6 thousand people in a place on the banks of the Guacimal and Lagartos rivers where mollusk activity is complemented by artisanal fishing.
Together with CoopeSoliDar R.L, a Participatory Plan for the Management of Mollusks 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 R.L. they carry out two days of cleaning solid waste a month.
“Every 15 days we visit the place to keep it as clean as possible from this type of waste that comes from the Greater Metropolitan Area. We have found everything: plastics, bottles, chairs, bags, shoes, etc, etc. Once we collect this contaminating material, it is disposed of in a municipal landfill for its proper treatment,” said the President of CoopeMolusChomes R.L.
According to the research “Women in the small-scale fisheries value chain” carried out by CoopeSoliDar R.L. The work of the Chomes cooperative members has allowed them to “empower themselves in a work space” that is vitally important to improve the quality of life of families.
“The women of Chomes have been becoming aware of the importance of responsible fishing, respecting closures, permitted gear and advancing in mangrove exploitation plans”, indicates the “Case Study: Towards a national recognition of the voices of river women , seas, coasts and wetlands in Costa Rica”.
Ivannia Ayales Cruz, President of CoopeSoliDar R.L. noted that the work of the women of Chomes in favor of the protection of the mangrove is a “case of almost unique success in Latin America because it allowed demonstrating the power of communal action in favor of a sustainable use of this source of income.”
In Costa Rica, mangroves are among the most developed and diverse in Latin America and cover 0.7% of the national territory with an approximate area of 44 thousand 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.