Spanning Central and South America, the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape (ETPS) covers around 2 million square kilometers, encompassing the national waters, coasts and islands of Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Panama. Nearly one third of the world’s whale species, as well as fur seals, sea lions, numerous shark species and important populations of globally endangered sea turtles and seabirds, migrate back and forth through the Seascape, making it the marine equivalent of the Serengeti. The ETPS is also home to an impressive seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the offshore islands of Cocos (Costa Rica), Malpelo (Colombia) and Galápagos (Ecuador).
However, coastal human populations are increasing and spreading, threatening the marine areas through urban expansion and construction in sensitive areas, unsustainable fishing and rapid tourism growth. Fortunately, the ETPS is making notable progress toward complementing marine protected areas (MPAs) with more comprehensive marine legislation and innovative field conservation projects to improve fisheries management and integrate conservation objectives into the day-to-day business practices of other economic sectors. These efforts are essential as unsustainable development pressures put the marine environment at risk.
It's a crossroads of sorts for an incredibly diverse mix of marine species whose movements change with the season, depending on where the food is. Migrating groups of sharks and humpback whales roam these waters in a display of life now rare in many other areas.
Making a Difference
Conservation International and its partners have jointly forged the ETPS, one of the most powerful initiatives in regional-scale marine conservation in the Americas. Recognized by governments, local communities, partner organizations, regional cooperation mechanisms and the United Nations General Assembly, the ETPS has become a major force in improving the condition of the marine environment.
Within the ETPS initiative, Conservation International fosters the development of regionally consistent marine conservation strategies through strong partnerships with national governments, decision makers, local communities, the private sector and national and local non-governmental organizations. Conservation International provides technical assistance, plays a central coordinating role and leverages funding that we have channeled to over 80 implementing partners.
To conserve marine biodiversity such that human well-being is improved by strengthening effective, sustainable marine resource management at all scales.
Our Strategy for Achieving Results
• Research, design, manage and fund the priority MPAs, so that they collectively function as a network that protects all major habitats and important species
• Improve livelihoods and reduce the negative environmental impacts of businesses and local communities by increasing the sustainability of economic activities, especially in and around national MPAs and MPA networks
• Establish an enabling environment for effective management of the marine ecosystem and sustainable development in and around MPAs and MPA networks, including strengthening policies, institutions, education and outreach programs
• Improve consistency and coordination between regional projects and institutions by supporting a wide range of local, regional and international partners, governments and conventions