The Isla del Coco National Park (PNIC), received the “Blue Park” award this Thursday, for being a Global Ocean Refuge in the “Gold” category of the Marine Conservation Institute, which encourages Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that meet certain standards of effectiveness and handling
The PNIC was nominated in July 2019, in a joint effort between the Government of the Republic, “Amigos de Isla del Coco” Foundation (Faico), and the Minae-Sinac, through the Coco’s Marine Conservation Area (ACMC).
“This is just other recognition of the efforts that our country has historically made to protect biodiversity and motivates us to strengthen work in the oceans, one of the main challenges we have. This fruit of the legacy of those who were before us and made visionary decisions that today set us as an example worldwide”, celebrated the President of the Republic, Carlos Alvarado.
“For Costa Rica, it is an honor to have a Blue Park and that our precious Cocos Island is part of this network of distinguished marine protected areas worldwide. This award represents a very important achievement in conservation issues and is the result of public-private partnerships to preserve the environment and make sustainable use of our natural resources”, added Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, Minister of Environment and Energy (MINAE).
The prize awarded to the Isla del Coco National Park was given by an international scientific committee, based on an evaluation report and expert feedback.
In this, the experts conclude that the PNIC effectively protects its natural wealth and manages an area of high importance for the world’s marine biodiversity. In addition, it recognizes the effort that is made to enforce regulations in this marine protected area.
“This recognition reinforces the commitment and motivation of the officials of the Isla del Coco National Park, as a result of a successful management of the hand with our natural ally Faico. It also represents continuous work in maintaining our effectiveness and continuing to improve”, commented Gina Cuza, Regional Director of the Coco’s Marine Conservation Area.
“For 25 years, Faico has promoted initiatives and projects that have contributed to achieving international recognition as prestigious as ‘Blue Park’, and obtaining this award is one of them. We are proud to have this distinction today, which also challenges us to continue adding allies to conserve the natural capital that represents the Isla del Coco National Park”, affirmed Alejandra Villalobos, Executive Director of Faico.
“Blue parks such as Isla del Coco National Park are the antidotes to threats to life in our oceans”, said Dr. Sarah Hameed, Senior Scientist at the Marine Conservation Institute. “We may not be able to stop the impacts of climate change immediately, but today we can create or maintain strong protected areas in the right places that will allow ecosystems to build or maintain resilience for the future. That is every Blue Park’s goal”, she added.
Due to its biogeographic position and its status as an oceanic island, Isla del Coco National Park represents a true natural laboratory of unique and irreplaceable universal value, constituting a symbol of marine conservation and a representative sample of how the world’s tropical oceans were 200 years ago years or more.
Its size, isolation, and conservation status are also a unique and ideal place for long-term research on the evolution of species, and environmental monitoring.
Having the adequate capacity and resources to effectively enforce the conservation of the Coco’s Island National Park will be one of the main criteria for the International Scientific Committee to verify every 5 years that the Blue Park category is maintained.
About the “Blue Parks”
The Marine Conservation Institute works with existing and new Marine Protected Areas to ensure that they are well designed, effectively managed, protect our oceans and fulfill their commitment to protect marine biodiversity for generations to come. MPAs that meet these standards can achieve a Blue Park designation, the highest conservation excellence award.
The Blue Park Awards were established by the Marine Conservation Institute to encourage governments to safeguard marine wildlife, ensure critical habitats, promote resistance to climate change and ensure the beauty of our oceans for future generations. The effort aims to gather an effective network that protects and sustains marine life and habitats worldwide.
Today, there are 16 marine protected areas that have received Blue Park status. In addition to awarding 6 new Blue Parks today, the Marine Conservation Institute has launched collaborations with groups that plan new marine protected areas in Argentina, Chile, and Mozambique to ensure that their efforts will result in future Blue Parks.
About the Marine Conservation Institute
The Marine Conservation Institute, founded in 1996, works in the United States. Its focus is on protecting the most important places in the ocean following several lines of work: identification and defense of strong marine protected areas; improvement of laws and other tools to better conserve marine biodiversity; catalyzing effective conservation by recognizing and elevating the best marine protected areas such as Blue Parks; and accurate information on conservation efforts with the Atlas of Marine Protection at MPAtlas.org