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Popular legends say the island was a pirate favorite during the time of colonization of the American continent. It is said that hundreds of expeditions
have searched for buried treasure there, leading many to believe that the stories of vast pirate treasures are true.
 - Illustrative photo -








Published Thursday, June 24, 2021

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff


This month marks the 43rd anniversary of the declaration of Cocos Island as a National Park, which was signed in 1978 by former President Rodrigo Carazo Odio.

The island is located 532 km from Puntarenas Province. After being declared a national park, the island was also declared a World Heritage Site, Wetland of World Importance and Historic Architectural Heritage of Costa Rica.

The only people allowed to live on Cocos Island are park rangers. Access by civilians is very limited; tourists and ship crew members are allowed ashore only with permission of island rangers. Visitors are not permitted to camp, stay overnight or collect any flora, fauna or minerals from the island.

Popular legends say the island was a pirate favorite during the time of colonization of the American continent. It is said that hundreds of expeditions have searched for buried treasure there, leading many to believe that the stories of vast pirate treasures are true.

According to the Ministry of the Environment, a series of measures are currently being carried out to strengthen the island's Protection Program to ensure marine and terrestrial biodiversity on the island.

The island is famous for its populations of hammerhead sharks, rays, dolphins and other large marine species, but it is continuously embattled with threats such as illegal fishing, climate change, and ocean pollution that could put the island's biodiversity at risk.

Authorities protect the area with continued patrolling to control fishing in nearby waters and control illegal hunting on the island. Taking into account the presence of exotic terrestrial species and the development of tourist activities on Cocos Island, the authorities seek to increase protection and patrols.

Because the site was declared a national park, the extraction of marine and land resources is forbidden. However, due to the increase in the fishing industry and the distance between the Pacific Coast and the island, illegal fishing continues to be one of the main threats.

In order to protect the marine biodiversity that surrounds the island, in 2011 the sea zone called Seamount Marine Management Area was created. However, "to date, it has not been possible to get the resources and staff for an adequate management of conservation," Gina Cuza, regional director of Cocos Island said.

The National System of Conservation Areas released a video showing the wonderful biodiversity of Cocos Island. A segment of that film can be seen on AM Costa Rica's YouTube channel.

In Costa Rica, commercial activities such as shark finning, importing of fins and transporting, transferring and carrying of fins within a boat have been forbidden since 2012.

Anyone caught transporting, importing, transferring and carrying shark fins on the boat will lose their fishing license. This goes to the person in charge or owner of the boat, foreign or national, with respect for due process, who for the first time or with recurrence unloads, according to the Marine Species Protection decree.

Authorities encourage citizens to report any suspicion of illegal fishing to the emergency line 1192.



In May, a team of 15 scientists led by MigraMar, a foundation headquartered in California, U.S., made an expedition to protect the migration route of marine species between the islands of Cocos and Galápagos.

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What have you heard about illegal fishing in the maritime zone of Cocos Island? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to news@amcostarica.com


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