Costa Rica is home to 3.5 percent of world’s known marine species

June 5, 2009

Costa Rica´s coastline may be small and less populous in comparison to other Latin American countries, but its waters seem to indicate otherwise.

According to a press release from Casa Presidencial, Costa Rica´s coastal waters are home to 6,777 different species of marine life, which makes up 3.5 percent of the world´s known marine species.

These numbers are the result of a study by the noted University of Costa Rica (UCR) researcher Jorge Cortés and the German expert Ingo Wehrtmann, who consulted more than 50 marine specialists and published the findings in the recently published book “Marine Biodiversity of Costa Rica, Central America.”

At a press conference on Tuesday, Cortés said an important part of the research was the comparison of Costa Rica´s coastline with other Latin American countries.

“The diversity of this country is much higher per square kilometer than other nations such as Brazil, Colombia and Chile,” Cortés noted in the press release.

All three countries far surpass Costa Rica´s 1,290 kilometer (801 mile) coastal boundary.

While the study spells good news for Costa Rica´s reputation as the world´s focal point for biodiversity, Randall Arauz, president of the Marine Turtle and Restoration Program (PRETOMA) said the announcement throws a load of accountability onto the country´s shoulders.

“It just shows again the (degree of) responsibility that Cost Rica has to have. Political decisions should be oriented towards decisions of saving this biodiversity.”

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