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Costa Rica is part of the largest massive coral transplant in the region


Source: Mensaje News

Among the objectives of Coralmanía 2021, it is sought to transplant at least 1,800 coral fragments that will be placed in their natural environment to reintegrate with the ecosystem.

With the aim of contributing to the conservation and restoration of biodiversity and coastal protection, the German Development Cooperation, GIZ, and dozens of scientific, governmental, environmental, and private institutions of the tourism sector that contribute to the protection of underwater life, develop Coralmanía 2021, the largest massive coral transplant in the region.

Coralmanía emerged in the Dominican Republic in 2016, from the hand of the Dominican Foundation for Marine Studies (Fundemar), Fundación Grupo Puntacana, Counterpart International, CEBSE, and The Nature Conservancy (TNC), with support from GIZ.

Juan José Alvarado, professor, and researcher at the University of Costa Rica mentions that: “coral reefs are vital for human life and the biodiversity of the entire planet. The serious deterioration they have suffered in recent decades puts the economic and environmental services they provide us at risk. With coral restoration, we try to adapt and mitigate the impacts of global change and help reefs survive and so that we can enjoy them for more generations. With this regional initiative, Central America and the Dominican Republic seek to give their grain of sand to the global recovery of coral reefs and to kick off the Decade of the Oceans and the ecological restoration of the United Nations ”.

For the 2021 edition, Costa Rica, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic joined forces to perform a massive transplant almost simultaneously between November 27 and December 10. The goal is to transplant at least one square kilometer of coral reef, that is, more than 1,800 coral fragments that will be placed in their natural environment to reintegrate with the ecosystem.

In Bahía Culebra, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, Culebra Reef Gardens, the Center for Research in Marine Sciences and Limnology (CIMAR) of the University of Costa Rica, Peninsula Papagayo, the National System of Conservation Areas that is part of the Ministry of the Environment and Energía and Raising Coral Costa Rica are in charge of implementing the transplant. For its part, in the Golfo Dulce, Raising Coral Costa Rica is the organization that coordinates the event. In total, they are supported by more than 70 professional volunteer divers.

Manuel Ardón, senior vice president & COO of Peninsula Papayago, stated that: “Coralmanía is a project that is fully aligned with the vision, commitment and principles of sustainability under which Peninsula Papagayo governs its operations and adds to the marine conservation efforts and of coral restoration that the company has carried out since 2018 in Bahía Culebra in conjunction with the members of the Sectorial Alliance for Corals ”.

The species selected for transplantation with the support of volunteer divers are Acropora cervicornis, Acropora palmata, and Pocillopora spp.

Svenja Paulino, director of the Biodiversity and Business Program in Central America and the Dominican Republic explained that “This initiative allows GIZ to continue promoting actions to protect biodiversity in the region and increasingly encourage the participation of different social actors regarding the protection of the underwater life and the oceans ”.

Meanwhile, Rafael Gutiérrez Rojas, executive director of SINAC, indicated that: “Coral reefs are the marine ecosystems that present the greatest biodiversity on the planet since they are home to about 25% of the marine species that are known. Its main builders are corals, which contribute to the accumulation of calcium carbonate and give structure to the ecosystem. The Ministry of Environment and Energy, through the National System of Conservation Areas, joins the conservation and restoration of biodiversity and the coastal protection of these ecosystems, thanks to the German Cooperation ”.

The Technical Committee of the Bay Islands NP, Roatan Marine Park, Fundación Utila Coral / Utila Coral Restoration; BICA ROATÁN; Bay Islands Free Tourist Zone (ZOLITUR); Cayos Cochinos Foundation; and as co-managers MiAmbiente +, the Forest Conservation Institute, Healthy Reefs Initiative for Healthy People and BICA UTILA will be the technical managers in Honduras. While in the Dominican Republic the Dominican Foundation for Marine Studies (Fundemar) participates together with the Ministry of the Environment, the Puntacana Group Foundation, the Cap Cana Foundation, and The Nature Conservancy.

This great regional activity responds to various Development Goals set by the UN for 2030: SDG 13 Climate Action; SDG 14 Life Underwater and SDG 17 Partnerships for the Goals. And, in addition, it coincides with the “Decade of the Oceans” or the United Nations Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development (2021-2030), which seeks to change humanity’s relationship with the ocean, as well as protect and restore ecosystems and biodiversity.

It also converges with the beginning of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030, whose objective is to prevent, stop and reverse the degradation of ecosystems on all continents and oceans.

Coralmanía 2021 is part of the cooperation between the sister countries Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Honduras, whose objective is to promote the conservation and restoration of coral reefs in the three nations, through the transfer, exchange, and consolidation of experiences and tools. It is supported by GIZ, through the Regional Fund for Triangular Cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development of the Federal Republic of Germany.