“The project arises as a need to recover what was, not so long ago, one of the most diverse reef areas on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica”
In just a decade, the coral cover in Bahía Culebra has decreased from 60% to 4%, added to the loss of diversity of fish and invertebrates. A loss in the health and diversity of this environment causes communities to stop perceiving the goods and services that it provides, putting greater pressure on the ecosystems themselves and increasing social problems.
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 to follow up on coral restoration 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.
In 2020, the alliance establishes a cooperation agreement to launch a coral restoration plan in the area. In August 2019, the first theoretical-practical coral reef restoration workshop was held in Guanacaste and, a month later, the first three nurseries with coral fragments were installed in Playa Jícaro. Since then, the project has been expanding and we are currently working on two more sites: Playa Blanca and Playa Virador.