The southern Pacific Ocean off the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica is an amazing natural wonder of marine biodiversity, home to more than 25 species of dolphins and whales, four of the world’s eight different sea turtles, along with manta rays, sailfish, marlin, tuna and sharks. The southern Pacific, and especially Golfo Dulce (Sweet Gulf) on the eastern side of the Osa Peninsula, are vital breeding and reproducing areas for endangered hammerhead sharks and migrating endangered Humpback Whales.
All of this extraordinary marine life, however, is almost entirely unprotected, except for small areas around a few national parks – the Ballena Marine National Park off the coast of Uvita, the Caño Island Biological Reserve, and off the coast of the Corcovado National Park.
Activists say the waters along the entire coast of the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica, need to be protected, and have begun a campaign to create a “Multiple Use Marine Protected Area.” The MPA for OSA group (Marine Protected Area for Osa Peninsula) states that Costa Rica’s marine life is threatened by commercial shrimp trawlers, long line fishing, over fishing, tuna nets, and ocean pollution.
“Commercial fishing techniques such as long lining, shrimping, gill netting and tuna fishing are wreaking havoc on this delicate and biologically diverse area and its marine inhabitants, and if urgent and drastic actions are not taken immediately, the world will lose this treasure forever. Costa Rica's dolphins, whales, sea turtles and other marine flora and fauna are being decimated at alarming rates,” declares the MPA for OSA website.
By declaring the southern Pacific Coastal waters, from the Ballena Marine National Park out to Caño Island and down the Osa Peninsula, a “Multiple Use Marine Protected Area,” the MPA for OSA group hopes that that private, commercial and sport fishing, as well as scientific research, tourism and marine transportation can all work together sustainably.
The MPA for OSA has created a petition on Avaaz to ask the Costa Rican government to fast track the establishment of the marine protected area. The group is calling for an immediate moratorium on commercial fishing in the area while details are worked out. The group also has a crowd funding campaign to source funds to continue their research and get local communities and the government to work together.
Costa Rica’s South Pacific is one of the “most biologically diverse ocean ecosystems in the world,” according to the MPA for OSA. Off the coast of Costa Rica is an immense habitat called the Costa Rican Thermal Convection Dome, where shallow warm waters lie on top of low-oxygen cold water creating a perfect ecosystem for diverse marine life. This dome is the only one in the world that is constant year-round, producing extraordinary ecologically-rich waters.
At Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, an environmentally sustainable eco-lodge on the inner coast of the Golfo Dulce, you can see and experience Costa Rica’s amazing marine life. The award-winning eco-lodge offers boat tours of the Gulf to see marine life such as dolphins, sea turtles and whales.
Located on a 165-acre private preserve backing up to the Piedras Blancas National Park, Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge is a unique adventure travel destination for its remote, pristine wilderness location. They offer family vacations, honeymoon trips, nature and adventure vacations, and yoga classes and retreats.
Article by Shannon Farley