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Panama creates a large reserve that raises its protected marine waters to 30 %

09 June 2021
Panama creates a large reserve that raises its protected marine waters to 30 %

Panama created on Tuesday a reserve in the Pacific of more than 67,000 square kilometers, almost the size of the country, which raised to 30% the protection of its marine areas and became the second nation in Latin America to achieve it within the framework of the 30X30 Initiative of the UN.

Panama has an area of 75,517 square kilometers and the so-called Cordillera de Coiba Managed Resources Area (ARMCC), located in the eastern Pacific, has 67,908.98 square kilometers protected.

On Tuesday, in the framework of World Oceans Day, Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo signed an executive decree that “expands the limits of the Area of Resources Managed Cordillera de Coiba”, in addition to establishing provisions “to protect the natural heritage of the country”.

The decree "contains the regulations that achieve the goal of protecting 30% of Panama's marine jurisdiction, with Chile and Panama being the only countries” in Latin America that achieve this goal, declared Environment Minister Milciades Concepción.

With the expansion, Panama adds an additional 50,518.84 square kilometers to the Coiba protected area,reaching a total of 98,228. 25 square kilometers of marine protected areas across the country, said the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI).

The biologist and STRI researcher, Héctor Guzmán, led the multidisciplinary consulting team that promoted the expansion of the Coiba area, which was also integrated by the MigraMar Foundation and the Ministry of Environment.

"This decision definitely sends an educational message to preserve what we have (...) it is a big step for Panama,” he told Efe Guzmán on Tuesday.

The expansion of the Coiba area "will protect a series of underwater mountain ranges that house species unique to those depths, and that are still unknown to science because of the great difficulty in studying them," STRI said in a public statement.

Areas where migratory marine species circulate will also be better preserved. At least fourteen species of marine mammals use the area, twelve of which are threatened according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), including the blue whale, sperm whale and fin whale, the international scientific body explained.

In addition, we will establish a system of monitoring, control and surveillance of illegal fishing and promote the sustainable use of natural resources in the area, as selective fishing, to decrease the incidence of bycatch of species important to the health of the seas.

STRI added that the expansion will strengthen the management of adjacent protected areas and connectivity with other marine protected areas of the Eastern Tropical Pacific Conservation Marine Corridor, such as Malpelo and Gorgona (Colombia), Coco (Costa Rica) and the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador).

"By ensuring the protection of this expanded area, scientific research will be strengthened on marine biodiversity, the conservation status of species, migrations, upwelling processes, the effects of climate change, among others,” he added.


Coiba occupies a total of 270,125 hectares, 216,000 of them are marine areas, and for its wealth was declared a National Park in 1991 and a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 2005.

It has a chain of seamounts considered exceptional geological formations, and a great biodiversity associated with them.

The protected territory consists of the island of Coiba, the largest in the Central American Pacific, eight smaller islands and 30 islets, which make it one of the largest and most diverse marine parks in the world.

Coiba National Park is part of the Eastern Tropical Pacific Marine Corridor, which also includes the Galapagos National Park and Marine Reserve (Ecuador), the Coco Island National Park (Costa Rica), the Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary (Colombia) and the Gorgona National Natural Park (Colombia).



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We are excited to announce that we are growing and spreading our expertise globally. Please, welcome TSAR EVENTS PANAMA DMC & PCO!!! We have opened our new office in Panama City to help our clients with their events in Republic of Panama.

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