- 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 sets 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, along with SINAC; with the technical and financial support of the Forever Costa Rica Association; and with complementary funds from the Central American Regional Security Initiative of the United States Embassy.
San José. The President of the Republic, Carlos Alvarado and the Minister of Environment and Energy, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, announced 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 conserve migration corridors and breeding sites of shrimp, lobsters, fish, rays, sharks, mammals and sea turtles. Some of these species are threatened and endangered.
The creation of this new Marine Management Area sets a before and after in the way 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 of the Republic.
The process of creating the new protected area -which began eight years ago- was led by local communities, with the support of the Tortuguero Conservation Area (ACTo) of the National Conservation Areas System (SINAC). It also had the technical and financial support from the Forever Costa Rica Association (FCRA) and complementary funds from the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) of the United States Embassy in Costa Rica.
The president explained that the new Marine Management Area will allow the recovery of populations of commercial fishing interest, which will contribute to the healthy maintenance of the ecosystem and will improve the quality of life of the inhabitants of the surrounding communities who depend on some of these species for their food and trade.
Meanwhile, 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 institutions involved will focus their planning on the conservation objectives, and on the development, management and attention of the human groups that intervene in the area”, he concluded.
Area. The new Marine Management Area adjoins the Barra del Colorado Responsible Marine Fishing Area (established in 2019), which sets a milestone, since, for the first time, a Marine Management Area (MMA) and a Responsible Marine Fishing Area (RMFA) will be managed jointly.
With this objective in mind, an Inter-institutional Council was formed, made up of SINAC, the National Fisheries Institute (INCOPESCA), the National Coast Guard Service, the Municipality of Pococí and the local councils of Barra del Colorado. This Council will be responsible for the coordination, comprehensive management, and governance of both the MMA and RMFA, as well as for the implementation of the General Shared Management Plan. Additionally, it will enable the necessary actions to ensure social participation, conservation, monitoring and sustainable use of the natural resources of the areas.
The Vice Minister of Water 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 related to the sea, to ensure the greatest benefit for the ocean and the economic well-being of the communities,” she said.
With the creation of this MMA, a large polygon of protected areas is consolidated in the North Caribbean of Costa Rica, formed by the new MMA, the RMFA, 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 Archie Carr national wildlife refuges.
The president of INCOPESCA, Daniel Carrasco, explained that through the joint management of the Barra del Colorado Marine Management and Responsible Marine 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 resources.
Community Achievement. The process of creating the new protected area was led by neighboring communities and included strengthening and accompanying dialogue platforms and close coordination between government institutions and local organized groups.
Lilia Briones, President of the Barra del Colorado Women’s Association of Shrimp Peelers said, “As a community it is very important to create a Marine Management Area to face the problem of climate change, which has affected us significantly. If we do not protect all the commercial fishing species that we have in Barra del Colorado, the time will come when we will not have anything.”
With the technical and financial support of the FCRA and funds from the CARSI program of the United States Embassy in Costa Rica, the communities established cooperation networks 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 design of an “Institutional Coordination Mechanism”, which formalized the general interest of all local stakeholders 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 the support of this issue in the region.
Protected areas are an engine for the economies of the communities surrounding them; they are benefited by the ecosystem services that they provide and by new business opportunities. In addition, the creation of this protected area allows the country to advance towards its conservation goals, the sustainable use of resources and the achievement of international commitments,” said Zdenka Piskulich, executive director of the FCRA.