Coiba Marine Protected Area in Panama is Expanded
Panama has expanded the Marine Protected Area in Coiba from approximately 6500 to 26,200 square miles. The expansion of the protected Cordillera, allowed Panama to accomplish the 30x30 initiative.
The 30x30 initiative is part of the Global Biodiversity Framework incentivizing countries to to protect 30% of their marine areas by 2030.
Héctor Guzmán, a marine biologist with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), together with a multidisciplinary consulting team, delivered the final management plan for the expanded protected area that was recently approved by the Ministry of the Environment of Panama, according to the resolution number DM-No. 0089-2022 of March 3rd, 2022.
The Cordillera de Coiba protected area is unique in that it has several underwater mountain ranges full of undiscovered biodiversity. This ecosystem protects fourteen marine mammal species that use it as a migration and feeding area like the blue whale, the sperm whale, and the northern fin whale, as well as sea turtles, marlins, sharks, and other species.
By increasing the area of the protected zone Panama has improved the connectivity of the Eastern Tropical Pacific Marine Corridor.
By prohibiting fishing in two-thirds of the protected area by net only allowing for sustainable fishing, such as pole and line fishing, the plan will reduce bycatch of migratory species.