Marine Conservation in Panama
At Panama Nautical Club, we exist in balance with the sea. Because of this knowledge, we are committed to conserving and restoring the ocean—we believe marine conservation efforts should be everyone’s responsibility.
World Marine Heritage Site
We are involved with the World Marine Heritage Site of the East Pacific in its efforts to create and enforce new standards of how the fishing clubs of the Americas care for our most vital resource—marine life.
The group includes representatives from Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Ecuador. In Panama, while there are laws for ocean conservation, they lack the necessary enforcement to make them effective. In Panama, there are no license requirements, no size or daily catch regulations, no fishing seasons, and no legally protected species. That is why the World Marine Heritage Site has created and enforced regulations for itself in order to preserve this most vital resource.
The WMHS prioritizes the protection of endangered species, as these countries are the last home to many. They’re specifically attempting to protect sharks, whales, and turtles. There are also efforts to limit and control invasive species brought to the region by travelers and the aquaculture business. The group, founded in 2017, has already made a difference in the region by clearing the seas of debris, such as old fishing lines that had long been unnecessarily trapping and killing members of the ecosystem.
The WMHS is also working to develop sustainable plans for operating within the ecosystem, including strategies to promote biodiversity while still supporting the increase in commercial fishing for communities that are dependent upon it.
Aura Corcio, the manager of Panama Nautical Club, has been involved in the World Marine Heritage Organization, working to ensure that the Island Resorts standards are equal to the task of ocean conservation. Aura believes “The sea is our connection with Mother Nature, and she has given us all we needed for so long, but now it is our turn to take care of her.”
The Island Resort owner, David, echoed the sentiment saying, “Protecting the ocean is the best thing that we can do to protect ourselves. If we don’t care for it now, then we will lose this resource for all the generations to come.”
While many of these problems have complex solutions, to help aid in ocean conservation, remember:
- When choosing your sunscreen, be careful of the ingredients you put on your body, as they will be washed out to sea. Choose a sunscreen that is free of oxybenzone and octinoxate (generally known as reef killers), zinc, PABA, or parabens.
- Pay attention to where your fish is sourced. When at the Resort, you can be sure that the fish offered has been sustainably caught; however, once you leave, be sure to continue verifying that your fish is sustainably sourced.
- When utilizing snorkeling equipment be careful to not touch reefs as this could cause damage. In addition, be mindful to refrain from making sand clouds, as this could disrupt and damage the ecosystem around you.
- Follow the Facebook group of the World Marine Heritage to be more involved.