Campaign seeks protected area for ocean off Osa peninsula

A campaign has picked up steam to create a marine protected area off the Osa Peninsula. The campaign has a Web site that noted “Costa Rica’s dolphins, whales, sea turtles and other marine flora and fauna are being decimated at alarming rates due to rampant commercial fishing including long lines, gill nets, shrimp trawling and tuna boats.”

There is a petition that already has 618 signatures and money is being sought via a crowd funding site linked to the Web page. The campaign is in both English and Spanish.

Coordinating is Sierra Goodman, the founder of Vida Marina, who is involved in marine tours off the Osa and also research.

The petition seeks a protected area from the Marina Ballena area to Golfo Dulce.

Ms. Goodman expressed pleasure Tuesday after she learned that Alvaro Ugalde Víquez, former director of Parque Nacional Corcovado, had sent out a personal email supporting the project.

The Web page explains why Costa Rica hosts so much marine diversity:

” . . . Costa Rica enjoys one of the most biologically diverse ocean ecosystems in the world. This is mainly because the heart of a vast habitat known as the Costa Rican Thermal Convection Dome, named for its proximity to this country, lies here. Shallow warm waters lie on top of low-oxygen cold water, creating the perfect ecosystem for a vast variety of marine life. The dome off the coast of Costa Rica is the only one in the world that is constant. Such conditions provide the Costa Rican Pacific waters with a very unique scheme of biological richness. Whales, dolphins, tuna, marlin, manta rays, sea turtles, sailfish and more, congregate in this area taking advantage of this year-round thermal dome of ecologically rich waters.”

In the past Ms. Goodman went so far as to jump in the ocean to help dolphin out of a trawler net. She has been an ardent foe of destructive fishing practices.

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