Great news for Panama’s marine areas

Sea Turtle Bocas del ToroAt the end of September, the president of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela ordered the establishment of two new Marine Reserves in the country, one in the Pacific Ocean (Cordillera de Coiba) and the other one in the Caribbean Sea (Banco Volcán).

These two new Marine areas cover 31.435 Km2, increasing the jurisdictional waters under protection and management in the country, from 3.7% to 13.5%.  Accomplishing the United Nations goal, of having under special protection at least 10% of its jurisdictional water (United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity).

Snorkeling PanamaMarine reserves are key ecosystem for the diversity of the marine life. Those areas are essential for the life cycle of many species, including migratory and commercially exploited species. For all of us, who have spent years working in conservation, it brings hope to possibly preserve endangered species.   One good example is what is happening at Bastimentos Marine National Park, where the protection of these unique habitats, coral reefs, sea grass beds, and sandy beaches, is helping to increase the number of nesting Sea Turtles, a symbol of Bocas del Toro.

Wildlife Panama
Map Source: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)

Historical Video – A landmark of Caribbean history

Ashley Bowes and Janina Seemann created this wonderful video about the history of the province of Bocas del Toro, Panama. Both woman are associated with the Bocas Research Station at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

Camera and speaker: Ashley Bowes

Produced and edited by: Janina Seemann

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, 2013