San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Study: C.R. Waters Teeming with Life

Costa Rica’s coastline may be smaller and less populous compared with other Latin American countries, but in its oceans, the story is otherwise.

According to a press release from the Casa Presidencial, Costa Rica’s coastal waters are home to 6,777 different species of marine life, which represents 3.5 percent of the world’s known marine species.

These numbers are the result of a study by noted University of Costa Rica (UCR) researcher Jorge Cortés and German expert Ingo Wehrtmann, who consulted more than 50 marine specialists and published the findings in the recently published book, “Marine Biodiversity of Costa Rica, Central America.”

At a press conference on Tuesday, Cortés said an important part of the research was the comparison of Costa Rica’s coastline with other Latin American countries.

“The diversity of this country is much higher per square kilometer than other nations, such as Brazil, Colombia and Chile,” Cortés noted in a press release. All three of these countries far surpass Costa Rica’s 1,290 kilometer (801 mile) coastal boundary.

While the study spells good news for Costa Rica’s reputation as the world’s focal point for biodiversity, Randall Arauz, president of the Marine Turtle and Restoration Program (PRETOMA), said the announcement throws a load of accountability onto the country’s shoulders.

“It just shows again the (degree of) responsibility that Cost Rica has to assume,” he said. “Political decisions should be oriented towards saving this biodiversity.”

–Mike McDonald


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