Oyster aquaculture is revitalizing small-scale fisheries in Nicaragua
Oyster aquaculture is revitalizing small-scale fisheries in Nicaragua
At Paso Pacífico, we recognize that in order to protect the ocean's riches, we need to also ensure that the people who depend upon it for their livelihoods have sustainable alternatives. Because of this, over the past two years we have supported a group of 18 women to form the Ostional Women's Oyster Cooperative, providing technical assistance in entrepreneurship and shellfish aquaculture. Thanks to this collaboration, these women fishers are positioned to produce healthy and delicious oysters for their families and for the benefit of the ocean.
The women in El Ostional are cultivating the native oyster known as the Tropical Rock Oyster, which is nutritious but also provides important ecological benefits by filtering water and providing habitat to sea life. This innovative project has been made possible thanks to donors and partners including the Loyal Bigelow & Jedediah Dewey Foundation, Julie McDermott, FOMIN, the Universidad del Mar in Huatulco, Mexico and the Waitt Foundation.
Later this summer the women will celebrate their first major harvest since the cooperative's establishment. We look forward to tasting of the oysters from this project! (Photo above by Hal Brindley)
Paso Pacifico is thrilled to partner with Tasha Rae Yoga to announce the first yoga retreat in support of our organization! This 3-day getaway offers opportunities to slow down and immerse yourself in the beautiful and raw landscape of Nicaragua while renewing your purpose. The retreat will be held at the Morgan’s Rock Hacienda & Ecolodge, Nicaragua's premiere eco-lodge with 4,000 acres of private tropical forest and beachfront property.
This amazing opportunity for yoga and nature lovers alike will take place September 28th - October 1st, 2016, and includes transportation, lodging, tours, and healthy gourmet meals. Aside from daily meditation, breath work and yoga sessions, the retreat includes inspiring field trips with Paso Pacifico staff to visit the sea turtle mass nesting event at the La Flor Wildlife Refuge and to visit with the Nicaraguan staff who lead our on-the-ground conservation projects.  Proceeds from the retreat will be used to empower local people and protect forests and oceans through Paso Pacifico. Spacing is limited. For pricing details and to register for the retreat visit Tasha Rae Yoga.
This past spring, the Waitt Foundation made a visit to the Paso del Istmo Biological Corridor in Nicaragua to meet the women of the Ostional Oyster Cooperative and to learn more about the project's opportunities and challenges. We were thrilled to receive their visit because they are both donors and partners, helping to advise us on project development and working to link our program with international experts in shellfish aquaculture. Given their wide-ranging experience in marine conservation tied to community development, we are fortunate to have their input.
During their visit, the staff from the Waitt Foundation explained that increasing the sustainability of seafood presents a major opportunity for ocean conservation, especially when it can be paired with economic benefits for small-scale fishers. The Ostional Oyster Cooperative is of interest as a case study because it is formed by local women who have traditionally harvested oysters, but who now seek to improve the economic viability of their fishery. 
We look forward to continuing ocean conservation efforts with the Waitt Foundation and are grateful for their support and especially for making the trip to visit the project in Nicaragua. 
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Adriana Castillo serves as the administrative assistant for Paso Pacifico's ELLAS program (Environmental Learning, Leadership, Adventure and Stewardship Initiative) which focuses on supporting women as enviro-entrepeneurs in eco-tourism and natural resource management near the La Flor Wildlife Refuge. Adriana is an expert in project administration for programs funded by IADB's Multi-lateral Investmet Fund which is the primary donor to ELLAS. She helps the Nicaragua team advance towards project goals and to report its acheivements. Adriana is admired by her peers for her high level of organization and sense of responsibility to the mission and purpose of Paso Pacifico and the ELLAS program. Adriana's career spans more tha 20 years working in administrative and financial planning. She is also a mother of one, with a second child on the way this summer -- Congratulations Adriana!
This month we are grateful to Jennie Becker for her collaboration with Paso Pacífico. For the past four years she has been our lead with the Los Angeles Zoo in supporting jaguar conservation in Nicaragua. Jennie has been instrumental in shaping our program and has contributed to jaguar conservation through her role in the AZA Jaguar Advisory Group. For more than 25 years she worked at the Los Angeles Zoo serving as a mammal curator and caring for a range of wildlife including the Black-handed Spider Monkeys and jaguars.
This month Jennie celebrated her retirement and will be moving to Montana where she can continue to care for animals--only this time they will be horses and dogs on her own farm. Congratulations Jennie! We will miss you.
This month on Instagram:
Children in Chinandega are enchanted with their new pal, the Cyanoptera scarlet macaw
Rainbows bring hope
Mercedes excavates sea turtle eggs to measure their size and weight for the design of our artificial sea turtle eggs