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A mission of Costa Del Mar is “to protect the world’s waters by promoting sport fishing.” In no area of the world is this effort more apparent than the impoverished South American nation of Guyana. The primarily English speaking former British colony has for years been attempting to boost tourism as a way to stimulate their stagnant economy. The country has suffered from a lack of industry and jobs that has led many people to immigrate to Brazil in search of work. The people of Guyana have sought to boost tourism by utilizing their greatest asset, the region’s natural resources. They believe that their land, 80% of which is completely untouched rainforest, as well as its wildlife inhabitants, are the perfect draw for world travelers. Unlike many of their neighboring nations, Guyana has elected not to pillage their natural resources through deforestation, poaching, commercial fishing, etc.
Costa, which looks to find sport fishing opportunities all over the world, immediately saw a potential mutually beneficial partnership with the Guyanese. The company appreciated the country’s efforts to maintain their wilderness and sought to help them attract the tourists Guyana was looking for. Costa was especially interested in the opportunity to allow the world’s sport fishers a chance at catching the world’s largest freshwater fish, and Guyana native, the Arapaima.
The Arapaima can grow up to ten feet long and has been measured at weights over 800lbs. The fish is what’s known as a living fossil, meaning that it is essentially the same animal it was millions of years ago. Unfortunately the Arapaima has been overfished in the past and has become a threatened species. When fished it is generally caught with either handheld nets or by spearfishing.
What Costa and the Guyanese tourism board wanted to know was whether or not fly fishermen could catch the Arapaima. To find out Costa sent three of America’s best sport fishermen down to Guyana to try their luck fly fishing the Arapaima. After spending almost two weeks in the Guyanese jungle, mostly at the Rewa Lodge, the fishermen had their answer. There was a quite a bit of trial and error but by the end of their journey they had figured out how to bag the beastly fish with a fly.
Today tourism in Guyana is gaining steam. The Rewa Lodge is flourishing and the income necessary to turn the region around has started to flow in. Already local Rewa schools have seen an improvement in resources. Town infrastructure has improved as well. Costa hopes that this success will spread through Guyana as more and more of the world’s sport fishers travel to the English speaking country in the hopes of capturing the elusive Arapaima.
For more information visit www.costadelmar.com/protect