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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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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.

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    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.

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    Why is the Eastern Tropical Pacific important?

    Jobs and Prosperity

    Within the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape, more than 5 million people live within 10 kilometers (6 miles) of the coast. Whether they work in the commercial fisheries, 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.

    Protection from Storms

    The vast mangroves, or coastal forests, in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape help keep people safe — protecting coastlines from soil erosion, buffering communities from hurricanes and serving as nurseries for valuable commercial species. And scientists are increasingly coming to understand their value in capturing and storing carbon that would otherwise contribute to climate change.

    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 deep blue waters, rich coastal habitats and unique wildlife (including one-third of the world’s whale species) of the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape have inspired millions. 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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    What ​are the issues?

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    EditCircle color:fact--blue    
    EditCircle icon:icon-fish
    EditResult value:30%
    EditResult field:fisheries overexploited or depleted
    EditText:Overfishing
    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. This leads to a loss of jobs, incomes and food supplies — and puts protected areas in grave danger.

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      EditResult value:50%
      EditResult field:leatherback turtles caught unintentionally
      EditText:Bycatch
      Bottom trawlers and industrial longline vessels unintentionally snare sharks and turtles, resulting in drastic reductions in 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.

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      EditResult value:80%
      EditResult field:mangroves destroyed in 1 province
      EditText:Destruction of coastal habitats
      The area’s coastlines are impacted by tourism, fishing and the recent boom in “aquaculture,” or fish farming. In one coastal province of Ecuador, 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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      CI’s solutions

      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, end destructive fishing practices such as overfishing and trawling and coordinate cooperation among the governments of Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador to create a more sustainable Pacific Ocean.


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      EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_71060150.jpg
      EditImage Alt Text:Sunset at Isabella Island in the Galápagos. © Conservation International/photo by Ana Gloria Guzmán
      EditCaption Title:Supporting Marine Protected Areas
      EditCaption Description:Since CI began work in the region in 2004, we’ve supported the creation or expansion of more than 20 marine protected areas. And we’re working around the region to restore the critical coastal areas that people depend on.
      EditRead More Text:Read More
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      EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_87353676.jpg
      EditImage Alt Text:Fisherman cast a net to catch fish. © Kseniya Ragozina
      EditCaption Title:Recovering Small-scale Fisheries
      EditCaption Description: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.
      EditRead More Text:Read More
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      EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_63252229.jpg
      EditImage Alt Text:Sharks swim near the Galapagos islands. © Jeff Litton
      EditCaption Title:Strengthening Fisheries Management
      EditCaption Description: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.
      EditRead More Text:Read More
      EditRead More Link:/projects/Pages/strengthening-fisheries-managment-combating-illegal-unreported-and-unregulated-fishing.aspx[Optional]
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        EditSection Title:Eat sustainable food
        EditSection subtitle:Not all seafood is created equal. You can help keep fish in the ocean by eating only seafood that’s been sustainably sourced.
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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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        EditImage Alt Text:Flags from all over the world. © Brasil2

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        EditImage Alt Text:High angle view of ocean waves. © PLAINVIEW
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