MarViva: Reeling in a sustainable future

We caught up with MarViva’s Cristina Sánchez Godínez, Science Manager, and Fresia Villalobos Rojas, Science Coordinator, to hear about their experience as a Moody’s Foundation partner and explore our efforts to promote responsible fishing in Costa Rica. Discover more about our journey!

Support from sea to sea

Even though 90% of Costa Rica is surrounded by water, Fresia believes that most local people live with their backs turned to the sea – and she’s hoping to change that. Based out of Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia, MarViva promotes the conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal resources in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. Specifically, they facilitate participatory marine spatial planning, consolidation of market incentives for responsible use of marine products and services, strengthening of coastal community stakeholders, and the deterrence of marine litter by plastics.

“Our vision is for thriving and diverse oceans that nurture the well-being of both current and future generations,” says Fresia.

Collecting the data

MarViva works with coastal communities and market stakeholders to promote sustainable practices in small-scale fisheries. Reliable data management is key to verify responsible fishing and to identify improvement needs and opportunities. Fresia explains, “We support artisanal fishing organizations in the assessment of the fish landings by monitoring relevant criteria like the species identification, fishing ground, gear, and size. Leveraging the local appropriation, this information supports enhanced fisheries management and good practices. It also allows differentiation of the compliant product throughout the commercialization process.”

In partnership with Moody’s, MarViva facilitates workshops to train local community-based organizations in data collection and analysis.

Cristina says, “The monitoring of fisheries is most valuable if it is conducted in the long-term. Funding provided by Moody’s Foundation is important because it enables the fishing groups to begin filling this gap and do the work continuously.” This project allowed MarViva to hire Tania, the daughter of a local fishermen, to support the participatory fisheries monitoring program for a year. The experience inspired her to become the first person in her family to attend university, seeking a major in Environmental Management Engineering.

Growing skills and opportunities

Moody’s volunteers are committed to helping MarViva’s employees develop new skills that will help them achieve their mission. Cristina says, “Moody’s volunteers provided valuable insights to help support MarViva’s work related to the costs of community-led initiatives such as the fisheries by-products and rural tourism. Access to training in financial matters is a valuable complement to MarViva’s expertise, which is focused more on environmental law, marine biology, and communications, among others.”

MarViva isn’t the only one to benefit. Our volunteers have also gained so much from their experiences.  Adriana Hernández Herrera, Senior Vice President – Service Hub Head, Moody’s Investors Service says: “Over the past few years, the Costa Rica office has supported MarViva through various pro bono projects that are focused on creating more sustainable marine ecosystems and coastal livelihoods. This not only enhances MarViva’s capacity, but also offers our people the opportunity to develop and utilize their skills for an important cause.”

There’s so much more to explore with MarViva, and we look forward to growing our partnership together. Learn more about MarViva’s mission by visiting their website.

This story is part of a series highlighting the relationship between Moody’s Foundation and its partners. At Moody’s, we take a comprehensive approach to social investing, employee engagement, and pro bono service to empower small businesses and support ecosystem restoration in emerging markets.

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