Friday, November 8, 2013

Marine conservation in Cuba.

After my last post, a good friend of mine, also an avid scuba diver, asked me how the Cuban government had been able to maintain such pristine reefs throughout all these years. He pointed out that they would have had to start their conservation efforts a long time ago to achieve the results they have today.

It's an interesting question, and my friend is right. They did begin their marine conservation efforts years ago. I've been doing some research (rather limited, I'll admit) on how the reefs in Cuba have come to be the way they are, and what is keeping the levels of biodiversity so high in those regions. It's undeniable that, from a scientific standpoint, they are doing something right. And from what I've been reading, the U.S. has a lot to gain from ensuring that those reefs stay healthy.

I just found an interesting blog about marine conservation in Cuba on the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) website. EDF is a US based organization whose aim is to preserve earth's natural systems. They focus on a wide range of topics like climate change, clean air, oceans, etc. They even have an entire team dedicated to working with Mexican and Cuban scientists, so as to collaborate on the work of protecting the bodies of water which affect all three nations - the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Straits, and so on. They're all critically connected, ecologically speaking.

Anyway, the director of EDF's Cuba program, Daniel Whittle, posted a blog entry on small fishing communities along the southern coast of Cuba. He talks about marine protected areas (MPAs), regional fisheries management, and community-based, sustainable fisheries. It's worth a read, especially for marine ecologists and biologists.

On a side note: I totally did not realize that the Gardens of the Queens national park in Cuba was the largest marine park in the Caribbean. Right now, there is even an initiative to expand it. That's a pretty big deal.

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