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Photographs of Huge New Park for Marine Life

A new protected area for marine life several hundred miles off the coast of Costa Rica surrounding Cocos Island has been created by the Costa Rican government. Over two million acres of marine habitat is covered by the new preserve to provide protection to overfished and threatened species. Cocos Island is about twelves miles in circumference, and is called Shark Island by some due to the large numbers of various shark species there such as hammerheads, white-tipped reef and whale sharks. The new protected habitat is called Seamounts Marine Management Area. There are thirty marine species found in the Cocos Island waters, and nowhere else on earth.

whale shark

“Creating a protected seamount area sets an important precedent. Sea mounts host endemic species, and the deep water that upwells along their sides brings nutrients that support rich feeding grounds for sealife on the surface. Seamounts serve as stepping stones for long-distance, migratory species, including sharks, turtles, whales and tuna. So we applaud the vision of the Costa Rican President, Laura Chinchilla Miranda, as well as the Minister and Vice Minister of Environment in making this historic move,” said Marco Quesada from Conservation International.  (Source: Conservation International)

cocos island

The area is habitat for leatherback turtles, an endangered species declining in numbers due to egg poaching, accidental bycatch from fishing boats, marine pollution, and ingestion of human-made plastic garbage floating in the ocean. The Costa Rican population has declined by forty percent just in the last eight years.

cocos island

Leatherbacks are the largest marine turtle, growing four to eight feet in length, and can weigh over five hundred pounds. Scalloped hammerhead sharks are also endangered and are often targeted for their fins, which are sold for retail in Chinese markets. In January of this year, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay spied thousands of illegally obtained detached shark fins in Costa Rica, when he entered the stronghold of a local gang.  They were drying on rooftops before being shipped to Asia. The shark population in Costa Rican waters has been said to have declined by eighty percent
in the last ten years.

yellowfin tuna

Getting the large marine area protected by law was a six year process. Conservation International worked with various organizations to help get it approved, such as Cocos National Park Administration, the University of Costa Rica’s Center for Marine Investigations, Pretoma, Marviva, and Forever Costa Rica.

leatherback

Image Credits: Conservation International

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67 comments

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2:13AM PDT on Jun 6, 2013

Congratulations to Costa Rica for creating this reserve! Thanks for sharing.

6:14AM PDT on Sep 14, 2012

I got the impression, when I was in Costa Rica, that most Costa Ricans take a national pride in their environment, their economic self-sufficiency and their eco-culture. I was most impressed.

1:12AM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

These are wonderful!!!!! Thanks!

2:39PM PST on Feb 8, 2012

amazing thanks!!

8:47AM PDT on Mar 29, 2011

Wow thanks

6:34PM PDT on Mar 27, 2011

beautiful!

2:01PM PDT on Mar 27, 2011

Congratulations to the Costa Rican Government for establishing this wonderful reserve..















5:06AM PDT on Mar 27, 2011

Thanks for the info.

11:18AM PDT on Mar 26, 2011

Thank goodness there are some insightful people in the Costa Rican Government to put this reserve in place. The Cocos Island's sea is so alive with such an abundance of species. I found the video to be awesome and opened a window for me to see a wonderous array...I have never seen so many hammerhead sharks, or the variety of sharks in one place, and the absolute abundance of different species of fish, turtles, jelly fish, sting rays and the unusal array of species I have never seen. Please continue to keep this huge park for marine life safe!!! Thanks Jake!!!

6:15AM PDT on Mar 26, 2011

Congratulations to the Costa Rican Government for establishing this wonderful reserve..

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