- Casa Presidencial photo -

Published on Wednesday, September 8, 2021
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Friends of Cocos Island Foundation, Faico, is collecting online signatures to present a project to expand the marine protected area in Cocos Island located in the Puntarenas Province.

This action is part of their campaign called "Un Mundo Azul Para Proteger" (a blue world to protect in the English language). They seek to protect the Cocos Marine Conservation Area, which includes two marine protected areas: the Isla del Coco National Park and the Submarine Mountains Marine Management Area.

Currently, the government and Faico are promoting the process of expanding both marine protected areas.

"Studies reaffirm the importance of ocean ecosystems, the need to promote actions for their conservation," the organization said in its statement. "One of these ecosystems is seamounts, which promote transport, productivity, biomass, and species diversity, conditions that attract highly migratory species."

Experts are emphatic that expanding marine conservation is vital, taking into account the balance that the oceans generate for the planet. The country has less than 3% of its marine territory under some category of management, focused on the integral conservation of ecosystems and their associated species.

"Scientific studies have determined that the ocean is being overexploited and polluted," Carlos Manuel Uribe, president of the foundation said. "In the past it was believed that the resources of the ocean were inexhaustible. Today we know that there are many marine species in danger of extinction and some have already disappeared forever. The only effective way to reverse the deterioration of marine ecosystems is by creating Marine Protected Areas.

International, as well as Costa Rican experts have warned about how damage to seamounts and overexploitation can have consequences on the health of the oceans, food security, and other benefits they provide to human beings.

"Costa Rica has seamounts that can reach up to 2,000 meters in altitude from the ocean floor and do not rise to the surface, but currently only 4% of these mountains are protected," the foundation said.

According to Jorge Cortes, a marine biologist from the University of Costa Rica, Cocos Island is the reason the country has 200 nautical miles of territory. He said: "that we have to see as part of our national territory not only the land but also that sea, which makes us border with Ecuador and Colombia."

Currently, the main threats affecting marine ecosystems are; overfishing, unsustainable fishing, marine litter, exotic species, and climate change, added the foundation.

In the first days of the campaign, there are already more than 7,000 signatures of support. People interested in helping the campaign should enter the Un Mundo Azul Por Proteger site and fill out the form displayed on the page.

Faico is the third organization that recently developed a new campaign to protect Cocos Island. In August, Costa Rica For the Oceans Foundation reached an agreement with the Ministry of Environment to patrol the island and Dulce Gulf sea.

In May, a team of 15 scientists led by MigraMar began their expedition to protect the migration route of marine species between the islands of Cocos and Galapagos.

What have you heard about fishermen committing illegal fishing in Cocos Island?
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