Although tiny, Cocos Island (12 miles round), is among the jewels of Costa Rica’s Nationwide Parks and a UNESCO designated World Heritage website. It’s the solely island within the japanese Pacific containing a tropical rain forest.
And, in March 2011, a tremendous, transformative occasion occurred.
An occasion of extraordinary governance.
On that day, and with a stroke of its president’s pen, Costa Rica took a large step in sustainable growth and preserving marine biodiversity, creating an enormous marine conservation space of 1,000,000 hectares round one of the well-known of all Costa Rica nationwide parks.
To place this into perspective, the marine preservation space round Cocos was expanded five-fold, making it the second largest marine administration within the japanese Pacific. Solely Galapagos is bigger.
It was a “day of nationwide satisfaction” for Costa Rica and a giant deal for world marine conservation.
Cocos Island, mendacity midway between Costa Rica and the Galapagos Islands, has lengthy been acknowledged as considered one of Costa Rica’s Seven Wonders. It sits atop a seamount (an underwater mountain vary), so dazzling, so magnificent, so full of marine animals that it impressed the well-known undersea explorer, Jacque Cousteau, to declare it “probably the most lovely island on this planet.”
As soon as, there have been so many sharks swimming its waters that it was typically referred to as Shark Island.
Scientists, conservationists, tv filming crews, and scuba divers got here from around the globe to expertise its wonders. They have been greeted by a bewildering variety of massive marine animals. Not solely sharks however rays, tuna, porpoises, sea turtles, and rather more.
And, after all, fishermen took word as effectively. Not a couple of fellows making a residing however big, industrial fishing operations which have been threatening Cocos’ bounty for years.
Unrestrained industrial fishing and indiscriminate killing on a scale so huge most of us cannot even think about it.
Worst of all are the manufacturing facility trawlers which, in the hunt for shrimp, drag the ocean mattress with large nets the dimensions of soccer fields that not solely scoop up monumental quantities of shrimp but additionally huge quantities of “by-product”, crustaceans, corals and sponges, sea turtles, grownup and immature fish, and all the pieces of their path, abandoning big swaths of ocean flooring nearly devoid of life.
And, what occurs to this “by-product?” Most of it’s thrown overboard, discarded. Trash. Billions of creatures, younger and outdated alike. Nothing is spared.
Marine ecosystems that took eons to type gone in hours. Life changed by demise.
Industrial fishing trawlers are decimating our oceans and are probably the most harmful of all human actions involving our seas. Nothing else compares.
Yearly manufacturing facility trawlers drag the equal of twice the dimensions of the continental United States, kicking up plumes of sediment so massive that they’re seen, actually, from house, abandoning total lifeless marine ecosystems.
As soon as, the outer banks off Newfoundland have been so filled with cod that, in 1497, the English explorer, John Cabot, remarked that they blocked his ship. For over a century, 250,000 tons have been caught yearly. Regardless of the warnings of scientists, manufacturing facility trawlers from around the globe continued coming till in 1992, the complete fishery collapsed.
Tens of 1000’s of fishermen misplaced their livelihood and the fishery needed to be closed.
What occurred to the manufacturing facility trawlers? They merely moved on for, in any case, they’re merely opportunists in it for in the present day’s money. The long run be damned.
Reality is, the oceans aren’t being fished a lot as plundered, decimating or already destroying 75% of the world’s fish shares at an annual worldwide financial lack of $50 billion-losses typically hidden in authorities subsidies.
Financial and fishing losses which are wholly avoidable, pointless, and unsustainable.
The World Financial institution estimates that, with correct governance, sustainable fisheries can go from an enormous world financial loss to an financial surplus, drive financial development, and restore fisheries.
Sadly correct fisheries governance is briefly provide worldwide and political will nearly nonexistent.
With a couple of exceptions, like Costa Rica.
For years, this tiny nation, occupying about 1/10,000 of its floor space, has led the best way in direction of sustainable growth. It has put aside practically 25% of its land for parks and preserves, replanted about 25% of its forests, is on observe to be the primary carbon impartial nation on the planet by the tip of this decade, and has declared that it needs to finish man’s ceaseless struggle with nature and make peace with it:
“Costa Rica is a small nation, however it may be an ideal chief. Almost sixty years in the past, we grew to become the primary nation on this planet to abolish our military. At present , we search to make historical past as soon as once more by changing into the primary nation on this planet to guard its nationwide wonders, on land and below the ocean, in perpetuity.” —Former Costa Rica President Oscar Arias
That imaginative and prescient, that dedication, that governance, is carried on by President Laura Chinchilla, who created the magnificent Seamounts Marine Administration Space in March 2011, massively increasing the protected waters and seamounts round Cocos Island to just about 4,000 sq. miles.
Necessary habitat to many species, together with extremely endangered scalloped sharks and historical leatherback sea turtles, is now preserved into perpetuity. Industrial trawlers will not decimate this marine ecosystem.
Life and an ecosystem that took eons to type will proceed to flourish. No extra huge plumes of sand—signs of death—visible from house.
140 years in the past, President Ulysses S. Grant created the world’s first nationwide park, Yellowstone, preserving a complete terrestrial ecosystem from exploiting opportunists.
Good governance, Mr. President.
Seamounts Marine Administration Space is even larger than Yellowstone and preserves a complete marine ecosystem. A effectively deserved “day of nationwide satisfaction for Costa Rica.”