The Cocos Marine Conservation Area consists of two marine areas: the Isla del Coco National Park that covers 24 km2 and 1,989 km2 of marine space, and the Submarine Mountains Marine Management Area that has a marine area of 9,649 km2.
During 2017 the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) and the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) began the process to expand this area, in order to generate environmental and economic benefits for the productive sectors.
Recently, MINAE presented the progress of its proposal and the results of the contribution of all the sectors that have participated in the sectoral consultation tables, such as organizations, the fishing and tourism sector, with which it will generate the expansion proposal.
For example, through research it was determined that the expansion allows a balance in the conservation of the marine territory, since it currently has conservation strategies only in 2.9% of its area.
Generates substantial economic benefits
Likewise, the study “Economic Assessment of Ecosystem Services in the Cocos Marine Conservation Area (ACMC) and adjacent waters”, carried out by the National University (UNA), estimated that this area generates around US $ 51 million annually in economic benefits: US $ 19 million for tourism in the Isla del Coco National Park, US $ 21 million for sport fishing and US $ 10 million for longline fishing.
“We have taken note of the valuable contributions and comments of each one, to generate an expansion proposal. Costa Rica, as a leader in environmental issues, has the need to conserve and sustainably manage our seas, which are a primary source for productivity and resilience in the face of climate change phenomena,” commented Andrea Meza, Minister of Environment and Energy.
For his part, Haydée Rodríguez, Deputy Minister of Water and Seas, commented that “Costa Rica is taking a huge step by being able to specify, together with the different sectors, the protection of the sea, what it represents in times of post-Covid economic recovery incentivize employment and blue economic reactivation”.
On August 20th, the plenary session for the return of the open public consultation took place, which lasted for ten days. After this, the institutions will develop an analysis process with the inputs obtained to continue with the process and finally, sign the respective executive decree.