Chinchilla signs decree to protect Isla del Coco’s underwater mountains

April 15, 2014

Sporting a park ranger outfit and hiking boots, Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla tromped through the jungles of the country’s most distant territory this weekend. She called this trip the most important of her presidency. The environmentally focused expedition to Isla del Coco took 20 hours, and, according to the president, was meant to close out her term with a focus on marine conservation policies.

“This [trip] has special symbolism because my term is culminating with doing something incredibly important for the oceans,” Chinchilla said during a press conference in the central Pacific port town of Caldera before leaving for the island.

In addition to inaugurating the island’s first radar station, the president signed a decree Friday that will provide protection for an area just outside of the national park.

A key breeding ground for marine species in the western Pacific, Isla del Coco and the 12 miles of ocean surrounding it has had complete environmental protection since 1997, but biologists say that one of the most important marine sites exists just outside the park’s boundaries. 

A mid-ocean ridge, or underwater mountain range, adjacent to the park is home to more than 260 different marine species and serves as a corridor for migratory animals traveling to the island. The decree formalized the management plan for the Underwater Mountain Marine Management Area, more than 3,700 square miles of ocean encompassing the park and the surrounding area, created in 2011. Though the management area has existed for three years, Chinchilla’s decree will provide the park with the government resources needed to monitor it.

“This is a commitment from the president to continue protecting this paradise,” said Geiner Golfín, Isla del Coco’s park administrator.

While the plan allows for some fishing in the area – sport fishing and longline fishing among the types permitted  –  foreign and industrial fishing fleets are banned. The goal is to allow national fishermen to use the resource without overfishing.

“The management plan accounts for social concerns,” Golfín said. “Fishing is still allowed, just restricted.”

 

 

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

Costa Rica’s Health Ministry confirms three imported cases of the measles
Health matters
1022 views
Health matters
1022 views

Costa Rica’s Health Ministry confirms three imported cases of the measles

Alejandro Zúñiga - February 21, 2019

Costa Rica's Health Ministry confirmed Thursday afternoon three imported cases of the measles, the country's first since 2014. The affected…

New tournament in Quepos to crown Best Fisherwoman Worldwide
Sponsored content
404 views
Sponsored content
404 views

New tournament in Quepos to crown Best Fisherwoman Worldwide

The Tico Times - February 21, 2019

For the first time in Costa Rica, women who love sport fishing will go to sea in a world-class event…

Guaidó-appointed ambassador takes possession of Venezuelan embassy in Costa Rica
Costa Rica
825 views
Costa Rica
825 views

Guaidó-appointed ambassador takes possession of Venezuelan embassy in Costa Rica

AFP and The Tico Times - February 21, 2019

Maria Faría, appointed ambassador by the self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, took possession of her country's diplomatic headquarters…