Colombian waters harbour a rich community of sharks and rays (elasmobranchs). Camila will survey artisanal fishers to learn more about the elasmobranch and human communities that survive along Colombia’s coast.
How would you describe the people of Colombia’s Rosario and San Bernardo Corals National Natural Park?
The people of Rosario and San Bernardo Corals are very cheerful. Throughout the day, whether they are working or relaxing, whether music is playing or not, they are always singing, dancing and laughing. One of the best things about spending the whole day with them is that they are always upbeat and joyful, which makes the long hours of work pass quickly. The people of the islands are also very united and there is a strong sense of community; family always comes first. They enjoy spending time with their loved ones and their neighbours, and since the towns are so small and close-knit, they all rely on each other.
What are the islands themselves like?
The islands are quite small. The largest one measures only two square kilometres (0.77 square miles), so there are no roads or cars on the islands; all transportation is on foot or in a skiff. There are few buildings on the islands besides the locals’ houses and a few hotels, and tropical plants and trees cover the rest of the area. The marine environment is quite interesting. Some areas have nice corals and plenty of fish, while others have been completed destroyed and are no more than a mat of bleached coral covering the sea floor, with almost no fish. I think this is because some islands rely mostly on tourism and others rely more on their artisanal fisheries for their livelihoods.