Costa Rica confirms its commitment to ban whaling
By A.M. Costa Rica staff
At the meeting of the International Whaling Commission,held in Brazil, representatives of Costa Rica pledged to continue efforts to protect whales and dolphins.
They also committed to improve the surveillance systems that help prohibit the hunting of these mammals.
The meeting was organized by Humane Society International and included experts in marine mammals, non-governmental organizations and universities.
Humane Society International is one of the largest animal protection organizations in the world. For more than 20 years, it has worked for the protection of all animals through the use of science, lobbying, education and field programs.
The participants discussed the status of scientific research, threats to cetacean populations, public policies, funding and education to assist government agencies in making decisions about the protection of cetaceans in Costa Rica.
"We seek to maintain Costa Rica's leadership in these issues, setting the line in the conservation of whales and dolphins and their important role in marine ecosystems, and highlighting guidelines on how activities such as whale and dolphin watching can be carried out responsibly," said Grettel Delgadillo, Deputy Director of HSI / Latin America.
In Costa Rica, there are three institutions that are responsible for ensuring the protection of whales and dolphins. They are the Vice Ministry of Water and Mares, the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) and the Ministry of the Environment.
National Library archive courtesy photo
The Whales and Dolphins Festival, which takes place every year in September during the high season of sighting which coincides with the migration season in the National Park.
These three organizations establish public policies for the conservation of cetaceans. They also coordinate with the tourism industry in coastal areas in activities such as the Whales and Dolphins Festival, which takes place every year in September during the high season of sighting which coincides with the migration season in the National Marine Park Whale, one of the most visited beaches.
Commercial hunting, climate change and pollution of the oceans threaten the future survival of whales, dolphins and porpoises.
Trade winds: Sailcargo blends old
and new in sailing freight venture
By Chris Lo
In a Costa Rican ‘jungle shipyard’, a small but ambitious team is building Ceiba, a combustion-free cargo sailing vessel that aims to combine old-world ship building techniques with avant-garde energy and propulsion systems design. Sailcargo managing director Danielle Doggett discusses the challenges and opportunities presented by the project.
As marine emissions continue to move up the global environmental agenda and the shipping industry works to identify suitable lower-emission fuels for the future, the commercial shipping industry is ripe for alternatives. Liquefied natural gas and other fuel options are gaining traction for Triple-E container ships and other massive cargo vessels, but on the more artisanal end of the shipping spectrum, a radical alternative is doing away with emissions entirely.
The last few years have given rise to a number of small companies looking to resurrect sailing cargo vessels for the 21st century. From the Schooner Apollonia project along the Hudson River to Fairtransport’s brigantine ‘Tres Hombres,’ which shuttles transatlantic cargo between Europe and the Caribbean, sailing cargo start-ups are building a zero-carbon community and leveraging the bygone skills of traditional shipbuilding.
It was working on the ‘Tres Hombres’ that galvanized the core leadership team of Sailcargo, a start-up that is currently hard at work at a ‘jungle shipyard’ in Costa Rica building Ceiba, a square sail/schooner hybrid that, once complete in 2021, will be one of the largest sailing cargo vessels of its kind. Sailcargo, which got its first finance boost through a successful $30,000 Kickstarter campaign, plans to use ‘Ceiba’ to ship cacao and coffee from Costa Rica to Vancouver, Canada and other Pacific ports along the way. The ship’s sails will be supported by a 100% electric engine and solar batteries to provide auxiliary power.
Emissions-free cargo transport is an idea that sells itself, but it doesn’t guarantee success – with the bigger-is-better economics of the modern shipping industry, is there a profitable place in the market for a true zero-emissions alternative like ‘Ceiba?’ Sailcargo managing director Danielle Doggett thinks so; here she outlines why.
“Costa Rica is one of the best places in the world to do a project like this. They operate 99% emission-free for their national power, and they have a lot of legislation in place that supports environmentally active thought. Right now they’re working on a nationwide electric car set-up, and they’ve just cut all import taxes for electric vehicles to zero. Also, here we’re required to get an environmental permit for every single tree we cut, which ensures everything is being done with the best practices possible in terms of selective forestry,” said Danielle Doggett.
A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo
The last few years have given rise to a number of small companies looking to resurrect sailing cargo vessels for
the 21st century.
The community’s been supportive, they‘ve had volunteers when they need them. But it has been a whole year of focusing 100% of them efforts on building up this shipyard from scratch. They had to run everything through solar power installed; and to put the poles in for the internet and phone line. It was really starting from the ground up. Building the shipyard hangar has been the biggest challenge.
“I definitely think ‘Ceiba’ has a place in the marine sector. Obviously it’s not competing directly with the largest Triple-E ships, but we’re going to offer a liner service from Costa Rica to Canada, stopping at several places in between,” Said Danielle Doggett.
The ship is specifically designed to sail this route, with the specific cargo density of approximately two cubic meter to the ton. So that’s looking at things like coffee and cacao, and other things around the weight of barley. They can bring things like coffee and cacao from Costa Rica up to the markets in Vancouver and Seattle, and then carry down the barley and other products.
Editor’s note: Chris Lo published his article at Shipping Technology Magazine
Costa Rica to measure mental health
damage caused by Storm Nate
By Sebastian Rodriguez
When tropical storm Nate hit Costa Rica in 2017, it lashed the Central American nation for three days. Nearly a year later, memories of the storm are still fresh for many, including for Marielos Alvarado.
She is one of thousands of residents of Corralillo, a municipality in country’s northwestern Guanacaste region, who spent those anxious days in a shelter.
“On an emotional level it was very stressful. It took a lot for me to overcome certain things,” she said.
Nate killed 11 people in Costa Rica, caused landslides and some of the most damaging flooding in the country’s history. Some communities trapped by the storm ran out of drinking water and food, and electricity failed.
Such disasters often cause mental health issues in those affected, said Jose Francisco Aleman, Corralillo’s emergency coordinator.
But that aspect is regularly overlooked in disaster response efforts, he said, although tackling it is vital to help communities recover.
“When the emergency happens, people are in despair for help, scared of illness, desperate for food, etc. In the end, these issues, such as food and shelter, are taken care of, but the psychological effect is not,” he said.
For Alvarado, the flooding brought by Nate meant her family and others ran out of drinking water and food while waiting for help.
“I still can’t get the elderly or children vomiting from hunger out of my head,” she said.
Nate’s intensity, she added, was unprecedented.
“Nobody expected the emergency to be of such magnitude,” said Alvarado, who also heads the local disaster committee.
More than nine houses out of 10 in Corralillo were damaged, she said, including her own. When she finally arrived home, more than two weeks after the storm only, the walls of her home were left.
“It was shocking,” she said.
Nate brought significant destruction to Costa Rica: more than $385 million in damage as well as the deaths, according to data from the National Emergency Commission.
But some experts now think damage assessments should go beyond financial losses and include things like impacts on mental health.
A study published last year in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, for example, said “recovery efforts must consider the long-term effects of hurricane exposure on mental health.”
The Ministry of Environment has said Costa Rica is working to measure those effects, and how best to combat the damage to mental health as climate change brings stronger storms and other extreme weather.
Costa Rica’s National Adaptation Plan, its core plan to deal with climate change pressures, will be published later this year, and will feature mental health prominently, officials said.
But, the ministry said, the adaptation plan would look only to teach municipalities how to spot mental health vulnerabilities. tackling them would remain the responsibility of local governments, the ministry said.
Gabriela Mora, a psychologist at the University of Costa Rica, said the plan was a good start but more is needed, including clarity on how the government will work with local authorities to cut the risks and implement better mental health programs.
And it’s not just the direct psychological impact of a disaster that needs to be considered, with many communities needing a broader level of support, said Mora, who is also the coordinator for the Psychosocial Brigade, a group of psychologists who provide help to those who have experienced a disaster.
That includes finding ways to reduce a community’s vulnerability to future events, and encouraging people to meet and talk openly about their experiences, she said.
Corralillo is one example, Alvarado said. The community lies on what used to be a wetland and is surrounded by two rivers, the Las Palmas and the Tempisque. Access is difficult, there are few jobs, and there is a lack of emergency planning, she said.
National Emergencies Commission courtesy photo
Nate killed 11 people in Costa Rica, caused landslides and some of the most damaging flooding in the country’s history.
Even though Corralillo had experienced three significant floods last year prior to Nate, the impact of that storm was far beyond what people were prepared for, Alvarado said.
As part of its efforts to deal with Nate’s aftermath, the community held a series of workshops with Mora’s department to discuss what had happened, and to train their neighbors on risk prevention.
Alvarado said the workshops attracted more people than expected, and allowed residents to talk about what had happened and learn lessons.
“That shows that the community is waking up,” she said.
One key aspect of the work is helping people not just work through the damage but find ways to try to cut their risks and feel more security in the future, Mora said.
“The idea is not to remember it as ‘the event that hurt me’ but, rather, to observe how we have to improve from an event that has already happened,” Mora said.
The region’s vulnerabilities extend beyond physical aspects, such as the adjacent rivers, Mora said. In Corralillo, job insecurity is a key issue.
“Here they only have sugarcane around them, and the period when they grow cane is very short. After that, they are out of work,” Mora said.
Marco Carranza, a workshop organizer, said disaster-affected communities need to ask local authorities for help in order to be considered for it.
The local authority then writes a report listing the damage the community suffered: deaths, injuries and material losses, as well as, in theory, the community’s assessment of the mental health impact.
That report gets sent to central government, which examines it and allocates funds.
But, Carranza said, communities are often not aware that they can include mental health losses, and many do not know recognize them as a problem until much later, when it is too late to request help.
Marianela Rojas, a member of the Psychosocial Support Technical Advisory Committee, the National Emergency Commission’s main source of support for community mental health, said communities need to be trained to ask for such assistance.
But even those communities that do request and get help have may struggle, Carranza said, not the least because measuring damage to mental health is inherently difficult.
Rojas said the National Emergency Commission was working on ways to calculate the impact of disasters on mental health. The country’s climate change plan also will require every municipality to have mental health and risk programs in place by 2030.
Factoring in mental health considerations is essential in helping communities deal with the impacts of climate change, Rojas said.
Failing to do so, she added, could mean its invisible effects will “end up generating a very high cost to the state.”
Editor’s note: Sebastian Rodriguez, writes on Thomson Reuters Foundation.
AmCham presents study of illegal trade in Costa Rica
By A.M. Costa Rica staff
Rican-North America Chamber of
Commerce, known as AmCham,
presented a study of Costa Rica’s
fight against illegal trade.
A.M. Costa Rica archive photo
Elías Soley, president of AmCham.
Costa Rican authorities do prevent the smuggling of more than $100 million a year in just cigarettes and liquors, but customs falls short of what it could be doing as the percentage of merchandise reviewed is low, the index said.
More details about the index will be published next week.
Cell phones in prisons to be blocked
By A.M. Costa Rica staff
Casa Presidencial courtesy photo
The law was approved after two years in the legislature.
The project obliges network operators and telecommunications service providers to adopt and apply technological solutions to prevent the provision of wireless telecommunications services within penitentiary centers.
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U.S. citizen drowned in Osa beach
A.M. Costa Rica staff
Yesterday, the agents of the
Agency in Puntarenas captured a 27-year-old man, who is
pornography. The victim only noticed that his
later. These images were later
to other men
The man was arrested and the
Yesterday, the agents of the
Agency in Puntarenas captured a 27-year-old man, who is
The victim only noticed that his
These images were later
to other men
The man was arrested and the important evidence from which the photos, computers, hard drives and cell phones were sent was confiscated.
Judicial Investigators Org. courtesy photo
The researchers managed to locate the equipment that
was used for the dissemination of the images of the girl.
Finally, the suspect was sent to the Public Ministry to formalize the complaint for dissemination of images of minors.
The case will continue in investigation.