“The Sustainable Coastal Development Project,” implemented in the district of Bejuco, Guanacaste by the Costa Rican environmental non-profit PRETOMA, has been nominated as a finalist for the 2011 Savannah Ocean Exchange’s $100,000 Gulfstream Navigator Award.  Each year the Savannah Ocean Exchange (September 7-8, 2011 in Savannah, Georgia) brings together international leaders to learn about the top world-class “Solutions Inspiring Action.”   The Exchange’s 2011 theme is “Shaping the Future of Our Coasts” and will highlight fourteen ideas from around the world that offer practical solutions to development problems facing our coasts.

PRETOMA’s solution is a sustainable coastal development plan that creates sustainable production methods and responsible consumption strategies between artisanal fishers and hotel operators.  The non-profit, along with the Association of Coyote Fishers (ASPECOY) and the Association of Bejuco Fishers (ASOBEJUCO), is identifying sustainable snapper fishing techniques and creating locally based markets that facilitate snapper sales between fisher folk and area hotels. 

ASPECOY fisher folk

“The project is creating coastal resource protection initiatives made possible through socioeconomic development,” said Andy Bystrom, the project’s designer and PRETOMA consultant.  “Because of this, we hope that increased fisher profits garnered through the direct sale of sustainable snappers to local hotels will be the incentive needed for these associations to conserve fisheries resource for future generations to enjoy,” continued Bystrom who will be speaking at the Exchange’s event in Savannah.

Another key project ingredient is marine protected area (MPA) development to conserve coastal fish stocks, an important component in the socioeconomic development of thousands of artisanal fishers in Costa Rica.  For this reason PRETOMA, along with ASPECOY and ASOBEJUCO members, is lobbying for more coastal MPA development. 

The project team has applied for a Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) sustainability certification and in May underwent an MSC pre assessment by an accredited third party certifier.  If successful, the project will be the first MSC certified fishery in Central America.  PRETOMA also plans to replicate the project’s methodology to other fishing and tourism communities in Costa Rica and Central America.

The project is a winner of the 2010 National Geographic and Ashoka Changemakers Geotourism Challenge.  PRETOMA would like to thank the project’s gracious sponsors: Conservation International, WSPA, Whitley Fund for Nature, Sea Turtle Restoration Project, Resources Legacy Fund, BBC Wildlife Fund.

(watch project question and answer video)

For more information:

Andy Bystrom
andy@pretoma.org

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    'The Sustainable Coastal Development Project,' implemented in the district of Bejuco, Guanacaste by the Costa Rican environmental non-profit PRETOMA, has been nominated as a finalist for the 2011 Savannah Ocean Exchange’s $100,000 Gulfstream Navigator Award.  Each year the Savannah Ocean Exchange (September 7-8, 2011 in Savannah, Georgia) brings together international...