Costa Rica is one of the countries congratulated by the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, for its climate actions. Its energy is obtained almost 100% from clean sources. Of the land and island surface it protects 13,030.55 square kilometers, 25.5% of its total territory, and its goal is to reach 30%. However, as regards to marine areas, it only protects 15,501.92 km2, 2.7% of its extension, far from the 10% that was its international commitment for 2020.
In recent years, the productivity of the rocky areas of the marine environment has suffered alterations due to climate change, overfishing and the movement of sediments. For this reason, the project to rebuild the marine environment was started, with the help of the Hotel and Club Punta Leona Costa Rica, together with the support of the National Learning Institute (INA), the Dive Costa Rica diving school and the MareBlu NGO, this through artificial reefs.
Artificial reefs are man-made underwater structures built to promote marine life. They serve to maintain fish diversity, prevent erosion, create a protective corridor and block the use of trawl nets. Its structures are made of marine cement, which has two different additives that allow the ease of adherence of aquatic life. In addition, this gives it better oxygenation and balances the pH so that algae, mosses and shells can create a friendlier habitat.
One of these projects is located in Playa Blanca, Puntarenas province, on the Pacific Ocean, a site “five ecological blue flag stars” for the cleanliness of its waters. There they placed 14 bell-like structures, weighing between 250 and 600 kilos, to become habitat for many species.
These artificial reefs are a step towards the recovery of ecosystems because they create shelters for animals and allow the fixation of algae, small mollusks and crustaceans, which serve as food for many species.
The objective of the initiative is to reach 200 structures for creating a type of marine biological corridor that allows the passage of species between the natural reefs that already exist in the area. The next stage is the placement of coral cultures in special systems so that they can grow.
“This month we finalized a stage of what is the Punta Leona marine wetland artificial reef project, a project that involved a lot of effort and dedication on the part of many companies and people. Thanks to the Punta Leona hotel and club, friends of Mareblu, the INA and without forgetting each and every one of our clients who, with their support and trust, allow us to collaborate with projects as innovative as this one”, Dive Costa Rica celebrated.
On the part of those in charge of the project, the Hotel and Club Punta Leona Costa Rica indicated: “After a lot of effort and a previous year of work (studies, monitoring, permits and construction) we were able to submerge the ‘reefballs’ that will shape a great wall of artificial reef that will not only help the biodiversity of the area, but we can also enjoy it for recreational water activities”.
Artificial Reef Protocol
The project also aims to encourage environmental education and sustainable tourism, since those who dive will be able to learn more about this system. In these waters you can see lobsters, octopus, oysters, cambute, white tip sharks, hawksbill, green and parrot turtles; and this indicates that the ecosystem is healing. Thanks to these positive effects, the National Learning Institute of Costa Rica will create an Artificial Reef Protocol.
Reefs are a large mass made up of sedentary calcareous organisms, such as algae, rocks, or corals that remain submerged at high tide and may protrude slightly at low tide. Many are the result of abiotic processes such as sand deposition, erosion or other processes natural reefs, but the best known are coral reefs formed in biotic processes dominated by corals and calcareous algae.
They are currently severely threatened by rising ocean temperatures and changing their chemical characteristics such as acidification. The main causes are the increase in atmospheric temperatures and the higher level of carbon dioxide in sea waters.