Costa Rica News – How can Costa Rica still shout to the world their dedication to protecting their environment when their actions contradict what they are saying? Soon the smoke and mirrors will be wiped away.
In just the last 20 years, eight of the 12 shark and ray species in Cocos have significantly declined. They are much less abundant than a few decades ago. Manta rays decreased by 89% and white-tip reef sharks decreased 77%.
This decrease in presence occurring even in such a protected park, Cocos Island National Park, is alarming. Causes include illegal fishing, the influence of El Niño and changes in predators.
Tiger sharks (first seen in the region in 2000), whales and turtles have increased in population in the same 20 years.
The white-tip sharks are thought to have decreased with the arrival of larger tiger sharks who feed on them.
Still, special care should be taken to monitor and control fishing as well as environmental and ecological conditions.
Similar declines have been seen in other areas of the world where fishing is intense and shark fins are being harvested.