Skip to main content

By MANUEL RUEDA, Associated Press

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Four Latin American countries announced Tuesday that they will expand and unite their marine reserves to create a vast corridor in the Pacific Ocean in hopes of protecting sea turtles, tuna, squid, hammerhead sharks and other species.

The new marine corridor will connect the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador with Colombia’s Malpelo Island and the Cocos and Coiba Islands in Costa Rican and Panamanian waters, protecting migratory species from fishing fleets of hundreds of vessels that visit the eastern Pacific each year.

The announcement was made during the U.N. climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, where world leaders gathered to discuss carbon emission targets and other environmental policies.

It comes amid growing concern over industrial fishing in the eastern Pacific, where fishing fleets from China and other countries are hauling in hundreds of thousands of tons of marine life each year using questionable methods.

The presidents of Costa Rica, Colombia, Panama and Ecuador were in Glasgow to announce the expansion of their marine reserves.

“We are going to protect ecosystems like the Galapagos and the Cocos Islands, which are among the world’s most valuable ecosystems,” Costa Rican President Alvaro Quesada said.