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EditPhoto Title:Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape
EditPhoto Description:The jewel of the Pacific Ocean is at risk of losing its luster — but we can turn things around.
EditImage Url:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_84406001.jpg
EditImage Description:Fish swimming in Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape, Cocos Island, Costa Rica, Central America.
EditPhoto Credit:© Conservation International/photo by Sterling Zumbrunn
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Map of the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape. © Conservation International

Covering nearly 2 million square kilometers (770,000 square miles), the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape comprises the waters, coasts and islands off the shores of Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador.


It’s a special place — one where you’ll find bigger populations of many species than you would anywhere else on Earth. It attracts thousands of visitors every year. It’s one of the most productive fisheries in the world.

And it’s too important for humanity to lose.


Why is the Eastern Tropical Pacific important?

Jobs And Livelihoods

Within the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape, more than 5 million people live within 10 kilometers (6 miles) of the coast. And almost every one of them depends on the sea. Whether they work in the commercial fisheries for species like tuna or mahi-mahi, are involved with the thriving tourism trade, have a job in shipping, or simply benefit from all of this economic activity, few people who live near the eastern Pacific are untouched by its bounty.

Coastal Protection

The vast “mangroves,” or coastal forests, in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape help keep people safe. They protect coastlines from soil erosion and buffer communities from hurricanes and other extreme weather events. They serve as nurseries for valuable commercial species like clams, fish and crabs. And scientists are increasingly coming to understand their value in capturing and storing carbon that would otherwise contribute to climate change.

The Food We Eat

Coastal communities within the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape are highly dependent on fishing to get protein in their diets. In addition, the waters in this region are some of the most productive tuna grounds on the planet. To sustain important fish species and keep families fed, everyone — from local communities to regional governments — must adopt sustainable practices.

Joy And Inspiration

The Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape includes sites that are some of the most famous places on Earth. Its deep blue waters, rich coastal habitats and unique wildlife (including one-third of the world’s whale species) have inspired millions. In fact, each of the four countries within the region boasts a marine UNESCO World Heritage Site — including the Galapagos Marine Reserve in Ecuador, the site of a well-known visit from Charles Darwin in 1835.

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EditSection TitleWhat are the issues?
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    EditResult value:30%
    EditResult field:fisheries overexploited or depleted
    EditTitle:Overfishing
    EditText:Worldwide, around 30% of fisheries are overexploited or depleted. In the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape, both industrial and small-scale fishermen are catching too many fish to meet growing demand. As a result, populations of high-value species like lobster, snapper, grouper and tuna are declining. And the problem goes beyond fish populations. It also leads to a loss of jobs, incomes and food supplies — and puts protected areas, the last repositories of healthy fish populations, in grave danger.

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      EditCircle icon: icon-sea_turtle
      EditCircle icon: fact--climate
       
      EditResult value:50%
      EditResult field:leatherback turtles caught unintentionally
      EditTitle:Bycatch
      EditText:Bottom trawlers and industrial longline vessels unintentionally snare sharks and turtles, resulting in drastic reductions in sea turtle populations, like the eastern Pacific population of the critically endangered leatherback. Up to 50% of the remaining Pacific leatherbacks are caught each year by longline fishermen. This species hangs on the brink of extinction, with only a few hundred breeding individuals nesting on beaches in Costa Rica and Panama.

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      EditResult value:80%
      EditResult field:mangroves destroyed in 1 province
      EditTitle:Destruction of coastal habitats
      EditText:Each year, millions of tourists want to see the beauty of the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape, and thousands of fishermen want to share in its bounty. As a result, the area’s coastlines can’t keep up. Nor can they keep up with a recent boom in “aquaculture,” or fish farming. In one coastal province of Ecuador, the expansion of shrimp farming — a particularly damaging form of aquaculture driven by high global demand — has led to the destruction of 80% of the region’s critical mangroves.

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      EditHeader:CI's solutions
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      Edit Image Position:rightRight
      EditSection Title:Protecting important places
      Edit Section Title Style:h3--logomark--responsiveGray With Logo
      EditImage URL: /SiteCollectionImages/ci_71060150.jpg
      EditImage Description: Sunset at Isabella Island in the Galápagos.
      EditText: The Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape covers an area nearly three times the size of Texas. It’s an enormous challenge to monitor what’s going on in an area that big — and to protect it from threats like illegal fishing, overfishing and pollution. But CI is facing this challenge head-on. Since we began work in the region in 2004, we’ve supported the creation or expansion of more than 20 marine protected areas (MPAs). And we’re working around the region to restore the critical coastal areas that people depend on.
      READ MORE: Supporting Marine Protected Areas in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape
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      EditPhoto Credit:© Conservation International/photo by Ana Gloria Guzmán
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      EditSection Title:Improving fishing and seafood industry practices
      Edit Section Title Style:h3--logomark--responsiveGray With Logo
      EditImage URL: /SiteCollectionImages/ci_87353676.jpg
      EditImage Description: Fisherman cast a net to catch fish
      EditText: Alongside our partners, CI is working in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape to end destructive fishing practices such as overfishing and trawling. By doing so, we’re helping to ensure that the area’s supply of fish is sustainable, now and in the future.
      READ MORE: Recovering Small-scale Fisheries in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape
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      EditPhoto Credit:© Kseniya Ragozina
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      EditSection Title:Fostering regional cooperation
      Edit Section Title Style:h3--logomark--responsiveGray With Logo
      EditImage URL: /SiteCollectionImages/ci_63252229.jpg
      EditImage Description: Sharks swim near the Galapagos islands
      EditText: The waters of the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape cover four countries, and these countries can better protect their resources when they work together. CI facilitates cooperation among the governments of Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador to create a more sustainable Pacific Ocean.
      READ MORE: Strengthening Fisheries Management in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape
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      EditPhoto Credit:© Jeff Litton
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      EditModule Title:What can you do?
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      Edit Section Title:Eat sustainable seafood
      Edit Section subtitle:Not all seafood is created equal. You can help keep fish in the ocean by eating only seafood that’s been sustainably sourced.
      Edit Button link:/pages/what-you-can-do-tips.aspx#eat-sustainable-seafood
      Edit Button text:Learn more
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      Edit Section Title:Travel sustainably
      Edit Section subtitle:Going on vacation? Traveling and the things that go with it can harm the environment — but there are ways to limit your impact.
      Edit Button link:/pages/what-you-can-do-tips.aspx#travel-sustainably
      Edit Button text:Learn more
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      Newsletter

      EditNewsletter Title:Keep in touch
      EditNewsletter Message:Get the latest updates on CI’s efforts to protect vital marine resources — and on the rest of our conservation work — delivered to your inbox.
      EditNewsletter Confirmation Message Title:Thank you for joining
      EditNewsletter Confirmation Message Text:You should expect to recieve a Welcome email and periodic updates on our work.
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      EditDonate Title:Donate
      EditDonate Message:Donate to CI to protect the marine resources we can’t live without.
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      More of Our Work Links

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      EditTitle:Food
      EditImage:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_73088367.jpg
      EditLink:/what/pages/food-agriculture-and-fisheries.aspx
      EditImage Alt Text:Woman harvests eggplant. © Benjamin Drummond

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      EditTitle:Working with Governments
      EditImage:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_12892312.jpg
      EditLink:/How/Pages/Working-with-Governments.aspx
      EditImage Alt Text:Flags from all over the world. © Brasil2

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      EditTitle:The Ocean
      EditImage:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_16084886.jpg
      EditLink:/what/Pages/oceans.aspx
      EditImage Alt Text:Coral reef in Viti Levu, Fiji, Oceania. © William Crosse
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