Ordinarily hard working men and women are turning to risky opportunities in order to feed their children. The economic situation in Puntarenas is terrible following the fall of the fishing industry.
Women in the area often worked 10 hour days peeling shrimp in deplorable conditions. They made only ¢5,000 daily but now that seems like a dream. They are waiting to be called and typically get no more than one day a week now. They avoid going to the bathroom during those ten hours in order to make as much money as possible for their families.
It was in 2013 whan Sala IV banned licenses for semi-industrial trawlers in order to keep the species from being lost and the ecosystem affected. This, however, came at a socioeconomic cost to the people. Before the vote, there were 44 vessels generating employment, and each one circulated about $1 million in the formal economy of the province every time it sailed. Today there are only three licensed boats. Two of the licenses expire in August and the third in September.
From 2013 to 2018, the number of fishermen from Puntarenas who ended up in prison tripled. 206 people from Puntarenas went to prison for drug trafficking in 2018. From 2015 to 2016, the number of women from the town reported as violators of the Psychotropic Law rose from 56 to 255.