The conservation of the oceans has been established as a priority for the Costa Rican Government for half a decade. As a priority, Costa Rica determined the need of at least duplicating the size of the marine protected areas. However the existing marine protected areas have little to none protection as it is.
ACOSA has several marine protected areas that are linked to terrestrial protected areas, such as the marine area of Corcovado National Park, Piedras Blancas National Park and the Golfito Wildlife Refuge. There are other marine areas that are protected exclusively for its marine importance such as: Caño Island Biological Reserve, Ballena Marine National Park and the Sierpe-Terraba wetlands (which are a Ramsar Site for its importance).
ACOSA has a huge responsibility to protect marine ecosystems which encompass great biological treasures.
The Costa Rican South Pacific waters host around twenty-six species of marine mammals from the Cetacean Order (dolphins and whales). This area is of vital importance to humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) that migrate every season from their feeding areas to these waters in order to breed. Costa Rican waters are the only waters in the world that welcome humpback whales from both the southern and northern hemispheres.
Isla del Caño’s waters contain extensive, well-preserved coral reefs that visitors can appreciate while snorkeling or diving.
All small marine fauna is extremely vulnerable to commercial and traditional fishing. Tuna fishing has a great impact on these populations due to the association between some dolphin species and tuna banks.
Marine protected areas are impacted by fishing boats that fish illegally and with impunity in its waters, while park rangers watch with frustration from shore, having no means to stop them. Other problems suffered by the area are long liners, increasing environmental pollution, over fishing, and shrimping boats with their devastating nets.
Up to this day, marine patrolling is limited by available resources, performed with very little technology in each and every marine protected area of ACOSA. Safety is also a big issue while implementing activities at sea. This project will purchase equipment that will ensure the effectiveness and safety of park rangers performing the marine patrolling activities.
The protected areas that will benefit the most of these efforts are Ballena Marine National Park, Térraba Sierpe Wetlands, Corcovado National Park and Piedra Blancas National Park.
During the day or night patrolling the personnel will cover large extensions of marine areas checking upon coasts and river mouths to watch over any unlawful activity and deter any offender. The marine patrol will also board other boats moving along the marine protected area, in order to guarantee that they are not performing illegal activities.
Outside the protected areas, the patrols will verify that the arts of fishery used are appropriate and according the area where they are located.
With the new equipment, the patrols will be able to work at night, late afternoon or during the dawn.