ABOUT BAHÍA CULEBRA
Historically, Bahía Culebra had one of the best reef developments in Costa Rica. Its extensive coral reefs were dominated by the Pocillopora and Pavona coral genera, with isolated colonies of Porites lobata and up to 16 species of coral, some considered rare. The average live coral coverage in the entire bay was as high as 44%, and was over 90% at some points. However, in the last two decades, these reefs have suffered continuous degradation, with the average live coral cover declining to just 4% on the reefs themselves.
HOW WAS THIS PROJECT BORN?
Coastal communities depend on the health of reefs for recreational and commercial activities. As Bahía Culebra is an area historically rich in fishing and recreational activities, and being one of the main tourist centers in Costa Rica, the loss of these ecosystems can have serious consequences in the short and medium term for the economy of the area.
In order to find a comprehensive solution, in February 2019, a first workshop was held to plan a coral gardening pilot in Guanacaste, and thereby establish an organized group that would monitor the restoration of corals in Costa Rica. As a result, a public-private alliance was created between the National System of Conservation Areas, the University of Costa Rica, the German Cooperation Agency, the tourism company Península Papagayo and Raising Coral Costa Rica.