On January 2023 the first survey of the project called “Diversity of rays in the Térraba river and its interaction with the local small-scale fisheries”. The goals of this projects are Identify the diversity of rays present in the river and how the local fishery interact with it. Carry out workshops for local fishermen and Humedal Nacional Térraba-Sierpe rangers on the identification, handling and release of rays that interact in fishing activities.

With the first year of monitoring, we have a picture of the ray’s habitat in the Térraba River. The contribution of this second year of study will be the strengthening of the baseline that allows knowing the use of habitat and generating management and conservation strategies for rays in this important ecosystem.

During the first year of monitoring we found that the only ray species captured was Styracura pacifica. All individuals captured were small, probably juveniles. Most of them captured in intertidal pools, so it is interesting to evaluate their residence during the current year. The CPUE increased in the rainy season, which suggests increasing the monitoring this season. In this way, it is important to develop training for fishermen in order to reduce the impact of individuals affected by bycatch – pointed out Graciela Pulido, Project Manager of this initiative.

The Térraba River is the largest river in Costa Rica and its mangrove swamp offers shelter and nursery areas to hundreds of fish species, including sharks and rays. Knowing the populations of rays and their distribution in the wetland is key to understanding their condition both in the wetland and in the ocean, as well as the development of future conservation strategies. This initiative financed by “beca azul” de Misión Tiburón for second time will pass to be part of normal monitoring of RPT in the future. We know that there is a need to generate knowledge in this area, which is aligned with our research objectives- pointed out Oscar Brenes, Director of RPT.

Photos and text by @f_thomas_photography