Success story of the day: Coralina

Success story of the day: Coralina

Government Agency

Story featured in the Made in Countdown 2010 publication


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Action

Based on a participatory process and with an ecosystem approach, the Seaflower Marine Protected Area (MPA) was created in 2005 thanks to the leadership of Coralina – the Corporation for the Sustainable Development of the Archipelago of San Andrés, Old Providence and Santa Catalina , a department of Colombia in the Caribbean – and the support of the local and national governments. Seaflower is the largest MPA in the Great Caribbean and one of the largest on the planet. Important financial resources from the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank have been allocated to implement the MPA Management Plan, and ensure its sustainability. Seaflower has been nominated to become a World Heritage Site.

Coralina’s action focuses on environmental planning, management and research, and conservation in the Archipelago. Coralina has implemented the first phase of the recovery plan for the Queen Conch (Strombus gigas), which faces the threat of commercialisation in the Caribbean, and protected a vast territory which includes deep waters at important sites for trophic chains, flows, genetic and ecological connectivity and larval dispersal. The agency also works to raise local awareness of the conservation and sustainable use of coastal-marine resources and to empower and engage local communities and institutions in their co-management.

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Before

Since the 1950s, the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina has suffered from a gradual loss of biodiversity, including its coastal marine resources. The biodiversity of the island has been affected by several threats, such as invasive species, over-exploitation of fisheries and deterioration of important habitats such as tropical dry-forests, sea-grass, mangroves and coral reefs – unique habitats in the Caribbean Region.

Now

More than 200,000 hectares of significant corals, mangroves and sea-grasses in the Archipelago are now protected. Coralina has ensured protection, conservation and sustainable use of more than 407 fish species, 48 hard corals, 54 soft corals, 3 hydrocorals, 2 zoanthids, 2 anemones, 3 jellyfishes, 130 sponges, 37 mollusks, 37 crustaceans, 38 equinoderms, 4 reptiles, 5 cetaceans, 157 birds, 3 sea-grasses and 4 mangroves. In addition, 7 reproductive colonies of marine birds and the largest diversity of soft corals in the Western Caribbean are now preserved. 192 coastal-marine species listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and aggregation sites for species are protected.

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Photo: A bird (Pheuthicus Leudovicianus) in the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina © Coralina

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