Our Central American partner in conservation is MarViva, an international, non-governmental, non-profit organization which safeguards and helps in the creation of marine protected areas in oceanic and coastal areas of Latin America and the Caribbean. They do this by providing legal expertise to the governments, help in the enforcement of existing laws, and aid in establishing new reserves. The overall aim of MarViva is to help create effective change toward a more sustainable use of coastal and marine resources.
MarViva was born in 2002 thanks to the vision of founder and president Erica Knie, who –working for AVINA during a trip through the region— realized how prevalent and serious was the problem of illegal fishing. On our Costa Rica and Panama cruise our guests' donations to MarViva go specifically to supporting community education initiatives, enforcement of regulations in National Parks, and the placement of buoys to protect coral reefs in Granito De Oro, off Coiba Island, Panama, one of our destinations on our Panama and Costa Rica cruise. The ocean around the large island of Coiba is the largest marine reserve off the Pacific coast of Panama, and is a major focus of efforts by MarViva for conservation, research and monitoring of fishing activity in the region. It is during our visits to this island on our Panama and Costa Rica cruise that we frequently encounter the patrol boats of MarViva and see them during patrols.
Cocos Island, the largest marine reserve off the coast of Costa Rica, and the Galapagos Marine Reserve form what is known as the “Cocos to Galapagos Marine Corridor” which plays a major role in the life cycles of many large, pelagic fish such as sharks. Information about the importance of this corridor is just now starting to appear, and MarViva is very aware of its role in the protection of the species who use this corridor.
MarViva has focused for several years on two gulfs along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. “Golfo Dulce” in southern Costa Rica, close to the border with Panama and the " Gulf of Nicoya " which traditionally has been regarded as a "bottomless pit " in terms of the abundance of fish. Both are under direct threat from over-harvesting of marine resources, and MarViva is active in developing a surveillance plan for protected marine areas by means of agreements with governmental authorities that allow them to patrol alongside the park rangers, providing them with boats and personnel from the Foundation.
Not only locally, but internationally, MarViva works in creating awareness about marine conservation with different approaches, which include co-producing films like “The End Of The Line” (2009) or supporting the "Fish2Fork” campaign. In Europe, MarViva has worked with allies to create awareness about marine conservation, support marine research, and influence policy makers and the public in general. Since 2008, MarViva has partnered with Oceana in the Mediterranean region in order to investigate cases of illegal fishing and identify marine areas that should be protected because of their ecologic worth.
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