San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica to Increase Marine Territory Protection

The Costa Rican government plans to establish a national strategy to increase the protection of its 589,000 kilometers of marine territory from 7% to 10% by 2012, Minister of Environment and Energy Roberto Dobles told the press recently.

The ministry will use a comprehensive diagnostic of the country s maritime zones as a base for developing a plan to better protect them, Dobles said.

Our marine resources have been forgotten in the country s conservation policies.

Part of the problem is the lack of a clear constitutional framework, he said.

According to the diagnostic, carried out by experts from universities and other institutions, the main threats facing these marine territories are pollution, exploitation of resources, population growth and habitat destruction.

The conservation plan, which Dobles said in late November would be finished in six months, will include policies for the management of marine resources and more research of coastal areas.

The national maritime-resource management plan is expected to strengthen the government s capacity to oversee these areas and improve the legal framework that punishes those who fish illegally and exploit marine resources.


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