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New Protected Marine Area in Barra del Colorado

  • Process of more than eight years for the creation of this new protected area, constitutes a historical milestone in terms of governance, climate change and marine spatial planning.
  • “It marks a before and after in the way the country decides to manage its marine-coastal resources. It is an example of the coordinated work of various institutions and communities to create a new vision of our seas, “said President Carlos Alvarado.
  • The main focus of this marine area will be the conservation, sustainable use, and fair and equitable distribution of marine-coastal resources, guaranteeing food security and promoting job creation.
  • The Initiative was led by neighboring communities, together with SINAC, the technical and financial support of the Costa Rica Forever Association and funds from the Regional Security Initiative for Latin America of the United States Embassy.

President Alvarado and the Minister of Environment and Energy, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, announced on Monday the creation of the Barra del Colorado Marine Management Area, located in the northern area of ​​Limón, between 7 and 12 miles from the territorial sea and adjacent to the marine border with Nicaragua.

With an extension of 667.82 km², the new protected area will allow the conservation of corridors and breeding sites for shrimp, lobsters, fish, rays, manta rays, sharks, mammals and sea turtles. Some of these species are threatened and endangered.

“The creation of this new marine management area marks a before and after in the way in which the country decides to manage its marine-coastal resources. It is a clear example of the joint and coordinated work of various institutions and communities to create a new vision of our seas, “said the President.

The process of creating the new protected area -which lasted for the last eight years- was led by neighboring communities, with the accompaniment of the Tortuguero Conservation Area (ACTo) of the National Conservation Area System (SINAC) and also included , with the technical and financial support of the Costa Rica Forever Association (ACRXS) and funds from the Regional Security Initiative for Latin America (CARSI, for its acronym in English) of the United States Embassy in Costa Rica.

The president explained that the new marine management area will allow the recovery of populations of fishing interest, which contribute to maintaining the health of the ecosystem and improve the quality of life of the inhabitants of the surrounding communities who depend on some of these species for their food and trade.

For his part, the Minister of Environment and Energy, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, emphasized that the main focus of the new marine management area will be the conservation, sustainable use, and fair and equitable distribution of marine-coastal resources. “The different competent institutions will give special importance in their planning to the attention of the objectives of conservation, development, management and attention of the human groups that intervene”, he concluded.

Extension. The new marine management area adjoins the Barra del Colorado Responsible Fishing Marine Area (established in 2019), which sets a milestone, since for the first time, jointly, a marine management area (AMM) will be managed and a responsible marine fishing area (AMPR).

With this objective, an Inter-institutional Commission was formed, made up of SINAC, INCOPESCA, the National Coast Guard Service, the Municipality of Pococí and the local councils of Barra del Colorado, for the coordination, comprehensive management and governance of the AMM and AMPR, as well such as the implementation of the General Shared Management Plan and facilitating the necessary actions to ensure social participation, conservation, monitoring and sustainable use of the natural resources present in these areas.

The Vice Minister of Waters and Seas, Haydée Rodríguez, indicated that the creation of this marine management area is the result of an 8-year process of working with the communities. “It is part of the current governance mechanism and it will allow us to plan the actions that involve the sea to ensure the greatest benefit for the ocean and the economic well-being for the communities,” she said.

With the creation of this AMM, a large block of protected area is consolidated in the Costa Rican North Caribbean, formed in the marine part by the new AMM, the AMPR Barra del Colorado and the marine area of ​​the Tortuguero National Park. While, in the terrestrial zone, it includes the Tortuguero National Park and the Barra del Colorado and Archi Carr national wildlife refuges.

In the construction of the initiative of the Barra del Colorado Marine Management Area, there was a constructive process with the communities to prepare the proposal.

The president of INCOPESCA, Daniel Carrasco, explained that through the joint management of the Barra del Colorado Marine Management and Responsible Fishing areas, food security, job creation, strengthening of the community’s organizational and business capacities will be guaranteed, as well as the sustainable use of conservation.

Community achievement. The process of creating the new protected area was led by neighboring communities, accompanied by the Tortuguero Conservation Area (ACTo) of the National Conservation Area System (SINAC), and included the strengthening of dialogue and coordination platforms between government institutions. and organized groups of neighbors.

Lilia Briones, President of the Association of Women Peelers and Processors of Barra del Colorado, “As a community it is very important to create a marine management area to face the problem of climate change, which has affected us a lot. If we do not protect all the species that we have fishing in Barra del Colorado, the time will come when we will not have anything. ”

With the technical and financial support of the Costa Rica Forever Association (ACRXS) and funds from the Regional Security Initiative for Latin America (CARSI) of the United States Embassy in Costa Rica, the communities established networks cooperation between institutions and community groups to address issues of local concern and environmental security, which allowed the creation of the Community Network of Local Security Committees and the Network of Entrepreneurs of the North Caribbean, among others.

This joint work is strengthened with the elaboration of a protocol called “Institutional Coordination Mechanism”, which formalized the general interest of all local actors to improve communication and joint efforts for human security and well-being in the North Caribbean. In addition, a Community Safety Guide was prepared to improve attention to this issue in the region.

“Protected areas are an engine for the economies of the surrounding communities that are benefited by the ecosystem services they provide and new business opportunities. Furthermore, the creation of this protected area allows the country to advance towards conservation goals, the sustainable use of resources and international commitments, ”said Zdenka Piskulich, executive director of ACRXS.

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