Costa Rica Unveils Massive New Marine Park

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Costa Rica this week announced the creation of a vast new marine park a number of hundred miles offshore. Officials stated the move is aimed at protecting the wealthy diversity of life in this Pacific Ocean region, as effectively as a group of undersea mountains.

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The park, known as Seamounts Marine Management Area, covers about 3,900 square miles (ten,000 square kilometers) around Cocos Island, an uninhabited speck just over half the size of Manhattan, situated 340 miles (550 km) off the coast of this Central American nation.

The island is occasionally acknowledged as Shark Island for the range of its finned denizens. White-tipped reef sharks, whale sharks and scalloped hammerhead sharks prowl the island’s tropical waters, which also help far more than 30 marine species unique to the region.

Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla Miranda signed the executive decree that established the new park yesterday (March three), and conservation groups are applauding the move.

“Making a protected seamount region sets an essential precedent,” said Marco Quesada, the Costa Rican marine system coordinator for the group Conservation International.

“Seamounts host endemic species, and the deep water that upwells along their sides brings nutrients that assistance rich feeding grounds for sea life on the surface,” Quesada mentioned. “Seamounts serve as stepping stones for extended-distance, migratory species, which includes sharks, turtles, whales and tuna.”

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The newly established protected region, which is a lot more than two-thirds the size of Connecticut, expands by five times what was already a no-fishing zone around Cocos Island.

Acknowledged as Area Marina de Manejo Montes Submarinos in Spanish, the park is probably to contain both totally protected and low-effect fishing zones, and will encourage the sustainable management of the ocean to safeguard two of the region’s threatened species: leatherback turtles and scalloped hammerhead sharks.

Leatherback turtles are listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The Costa Rican population of these turtles has declined by 40 % in the final eight years, and 90 percent in the past 20 years, due in component to the loss of eggs to illegal harvest.

Scalloped hammerhead sharks are on the globally endangered species list, and are typically targeted by fishermen for their fins, a prized commodity employed in shark fin soup, and a lucrative product on the Chinese marketplace.

Both scalloped hammerhead sharks and leatherback turtles are accidentally captured in commercial fishing operations.

National parks and reserves cover far more than 25 % of Costa Rica’s land area.

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