Costa Rica’s Cocos Island is one of six finalists to be designated as a “Global Ocean Refuge” by the Marine Conservation Institute.
The organization nominates “protected areas that safeguard marine life and promote opportunities for sustainable tourism.” After the finalists are evaluated by a science council, select sites receive funding for further protection and sustainable tourism development.
“Cocos Island National Park guarantees Costa Ricans and the world the conservation of a natural sanctuary of marine and terrestrial species, which represents a key site for the development of science,” said Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, Minister of Environment and Energy. “The nomination of the National Park for this award represents another achievement at the country level in conservation, thanks to public-private efforts to preserve the environment and make sustainable use of our natural resources.”
The other nominees are: Aldabra Atoll Special Reserve; Arnavon Community Marine Park; Marine Protected Area Network around the Channel Islands; Reserva Marina de Galàpagos; and Area Marina Protetta di Torre Guaceto.
Marine Conservation Institute notes Cocos Island “is an important point of travel for migratory sharks in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. The island is a globally important reservoir of biodiversity, and is visited by blue whales, sperm whales and bottlenose dolphins.”
A United States-based nonprofit, Marine Conservation Institute was founded in 1996 and focuses on “bridging the gap between scientists who understand marine ecosystems and policy makers who determine their fate.”
Cocos Island is located 532 km from Cabo Blanco, Puntarenas. It was designated as a UNESCO Natural Heritage for Humanity Site in 1997 after lobbying from the Costa Rican government and the nonprofit Friends of Cocos Island (FAICO).