Costa Rica declares Isla del Coco a shark sanctuary

San Jose. Isla del Coco National Park in Costa Rica (PNIC) is now a sanctuary for sharks. According to a statement from the government of President Carlos Alvarado, the measure is aimed at ensuring the protection of special species of sharks and establishing a connection with the Golfo Dulce, a nature reserve for hammerhead sharks.

Isla del Coco is the largest natural park in the country. The Eastern Pacific Marine Protected Area has been internationally recognized as a World Heritage Site since 1997. In addition, since 1998, it has officially become a Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar Site) and since 1999 is an Architectural Historic Heritage of Costa Rica.

Because of its biodiversity, the presence of many endemic species, and the beauty of its landscape, Isla del Coco was also declared a Global Ocean Conservation Area in 2019. It has one of the largest and most biodiverse reefs in the eastern tropical Pacific, providing an important gathering point for marine life and a transit area for fish populations. Migratory shark.

The Costa Rican Ministry of Environment and Energy (Minae) has confirmed that the PNIC is one of the richest areas of marine and terrestrial biodiversity. More than 46 percent of the endemic species of the Pacific Ocean are found there. The project’s expansion last December increased the proportion of protected areas in the Costa Rican Sea from about three to about 30 percent.

The PNC now constitutes another marine protected area in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Corridor. These already include the Galapagos National Park (Ecuador), the Malpelo Flora and Fauna Reserve (Colombia), the Gorgona Island Natural Park (Colombia), the Coiba Island National Park (Panama), and the Revillagigedo National Park (Mexico).

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After a visit by members of the Costa Rican government to the national park in late April, President Alvarado and Environment Minister Rolando Castro signed a decree declaring Isla del Coco a shark sanctuary. Signing the decree, Alvarado said the protection of these two protected areas represented a step forward in preserving species of critical importance to marine ecosystems, as well as endangered species.

During the visit to the national park, government authorities raised the flag to celebrate the bicentenary of Costa Rica’s independence (1821-2021), while Castro emphasized that all these efforts, along with the expansion of the marine reserve, were aimed at promoting “CoaliciĆ³n de Alta AmbiciĆ³n por la Naturaleza y las Personas” (High ambition alliance of nature and people) contribute. The coalition, led by Costa Rica, France and the United Kingdom, and which now includes 95 countries, has set a goal of protecting 30 percent of the world’s land and sea by 2030.

Thinking about the core regions of Malpelo, Coiba, Galapagos and Isla del Coco is a huge challenge. Therefore, one must have flexible and effective mechanisms in place to protect these endemic species and their habitats, Castro said. For her part, Deputy Minister of Water and Oceans Cynthia Barzona noted the importance of bays and islets in the protected waters of the Palestinian National Information Council, which are home, breeding grounds and transit station for 15 species of sharks.

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