Beneath the surface of the Gulf of Nicoya 

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When most of us look at the gulf, we see water and sky, the gentle curves and triangles of waves. He, however, sees what lies beneath, as if by magic. The resources that swim and swarm under the surface, the supply against the demand on shore, the consequences of environmental damage and overfishing, the unfulfilled potential. He preaches the gospel of sustainable fishing and finds way to put it into action.

Loaves and fishes? From fish alone he, like so many others on this low green coast, has spun out one lifeline after another. He has pursued them, sold them, served them, figured out ways to allow a diner to trace their path from the depths to their glistening plate. From a fishing boat to a restaurant to a tourism enterprise to a Mercadito, he’s morphed from one business identity to the next while never straying from one goal: sharing these waters, these islands and coastline, with those who come to see them, taste them, experience them.

The rest of us see water and sky, and for us, that’s enough. He sees what lies beneath, as if by magic. At least, he lives as if he can.

Text by Katherine Stanley Obando, inspired by the story of Mario Zamora of Isla Cocos Mercadito and his love for the Gulf of Nicoya. He was interviewed by Sharon Cavallini and Mónica Quesada for their report on Isla San Lucas this coming Friday, part of our August edition, “Symbiosis.” Our weekly Media Naranja column tells short love stories with a Costa Rican twist. During our August edition, they will focus on love of many kinds—romance, friendship, neighbors’ bonds—that are related to Costa Rica’s national parks and other protected areas.

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