Costa Rica signs a decree to protect its coral reefs

Photo Credit: 
Avi Klapfer

On World Oceans Day President Carlos Alvarado of Costa Rica signed a decree for the "promotion of restoration and conservation initiatives for the recovery of coral ecosystems," aimed at protecting corals. The decree, establishes guidelines to recover existing corals and create artificial reefs.

The Minister of the Environment, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, explained that coral areas function as natural barriers that protect cities and coastal communities from storms, hurricanes and tsunamis.

"Healthy reefs are capable of absorbing up to 90% of the impact of waves," he said. "We recognize their importance for productive activities, such as fishing and tourism, and we see the need to protect coastal communities by reducing the impact of extreme events resulting from climate change."

The measure was celebrated by the international environmental organizations Interamerican Association for the Defense of the Environment (AIDA) and Conservation International (CI), which work in the preservation of corals.

"We are very pleased with this important advance to ensure the survival of coral reefs and species that contribute to their conservation," said Gladys Martinez, a lawyer with the AIDA Marine Biodiversity and Coastal Protection Program, in a statement.

President Alvarado also signed a decree that establishes a system of marine governance that will be managed by the ministries of Environment and Energy, Agriculture, Tourism, Public Works and Security.

Haydée Rodríguez explained that this ministerial commission should define Costa Rica's vision for its oceans and coordinate the actions to make it a reality.

At the same time, the decree establishes a mechanism of civil inclusion in the decisions on the management of the maritime territory, with the participation of fishermen, tourism operators and universities.

Original Source: Tico Times