Coral reefs in Costa Rica: Economic Value, Threats and International Legal Commitments to Protect Them (in Spanish)
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The report (in Spanish), published with financial support from Conservation International, aims to serve as a foundation for introducing specific legislation on protecting coral reefs in Costa Rica, and to support their conservation in Latin America and the Caribbean, a crucial task.
In the first section, the report highlights the useful richness of the reefs. They protect cities and communities from the coastal erosion caused by hurricanes and storms (reefs absorb up to 90% of the impact of the waves). They mitigate climate change. They provide abundant fishing and valuable data for medical research (corals have been recognized as potential sources of cancer-fighting medicine). Reefs attract tourism for recreation and their beauty. And they maintain other habitats wealthy in biopersity. Reefs are nurseries, homes and meal spots for countless creatures and supply tons of seafood for our consumption.
The report is backed by figures. It quantifies the economic value of a reef at more than $1 million per hectare. That equates to about $582 million for all of Costa Rica’s coral reefs. The calculation of damages to these underwater resources, however, could push that value up tenfold or more if we consider the legal actions related to reefs in countries like Belize and the United States. The report highlights the urgency of creating a legal instrument in Costa Rica to protect coral reefs for the benefit of this and future generations.