Innovation in Marine Control and Surveillance for Costa Rica:

FAICO and WILDAID support the development of a workshop on the use of advanced technology

  • For two full days, an event was held that promises to revolutionize the way Costa Rica’s marine biodiversity is protected

Organized by the Friends of Cocos Island Foundation (FAICO) and WILDAID, in collaboration with Global Fishing Watch (GFW), the workshop on the use of advanced technology for monitoring, control, and surveillance of fishing activities brought together 20 professionals from various key institutions in the country’s marine protection.

The workshop, more than technical presentations, was a space for collaboration, learning, and vision towards the future. With the financial help of FAICO, WILDAID, and GFW, we sought to train participants in the use of technological tools that allow precise monitoring of marine protected areas, an invaluable resource in the fight against illegal fishing.

The attendees, coming from organizations such as FAICO, MarViva, the National Coast Guard Service, Cocos Marine Conservation Area, INCOPESCA, and WILDAID, play crucial roles in their institutions. These included data analysts, communication specialists, project managers, and park rangers. This diversity of perspectives and experiences enriched a space for workshop-style discussions and activities, creating a dynamic and productive learning environment.

The knowledge acquired during the workshop did not stay in the room. Participants identified multiple ways in which GFW tools can be integrated into their daily work. Some of them plan to use these technologies to improve control and surveillance in the Cocos Marine Conservation Area (ACMC), while others will apply them in the coordination and development of communication strategies and publications focused on marine protection. The ability to monitor and follow local and foreign vessels, as well as analyze data in areas of high interest such as the Thermal Dome, were especially valued aspects.

The workshop also provided a inestimable opportunity to reflect on areas for improvement and future needs. Notable suggestions include the need to continue training to keep up with improvements to the platform, the inclusion of more practical exercises and increased practice time, as well as improving coordination between workshop instructors.

Priority topics for future training also emerged during the discussions. Fishing regulations and legislation, the analysis of fishing efforts, the presence and recurrence of foreign fleets in protected areas, and the methods of monitoring and preparing evidence reports for legal cases were some of the topics identified as essential.

Beyond technical learning, the workshop left a mark on the way of working and collaborating among institutions. One participant summed up the general feeling by saying: “It is excellent that INCOPESCA, the Coast Guard service, and SINAC come together in these workshops, with high-quality instructors.” Another added: “The training was very appropriate and useful for the control, follow-up, and monitoring tasks of our institution.”

FAICO, WILDAID, and GFW thank all participants for their enthusiasm and commitment. This workshop is a testament to the power of collaboration and innovation in protecting our marine resources. Advanced technology and knowledge were shared during two crucial days to ensure a sustainable future for Costa Rica’s marine protected areas.