Cuba and U.S sign memorandum to protect marine species in Gulf of Mexico

Posted: 24-Nov-15 08:55

A month after Washington and Cuba initiated steps towards protecting the marine life in the Gulf of Mexico, the two countries have officially signed a memorandum. The marine protection agreement will aim to protect and conserve rare species of fish and coral found in the sea that divides the two nations.

Cuba and U.S sign memorandum to protect marine species in Gulf of Mexico

An agreement has been made one month after talks between Washington and Cuba over the protection of marine species in the Gulf of Mexico.

Last Wednesday U.S and Cuban officials officially signed a memorandum that would see the protection and conservation of fish and corals on the sea that divides the two countries.

“We recognise we all share the same ocean and face the same challenges of understanding, managing and conserving critical marine resources for future generations.”

Commented Kathryn Sullivan, the chief of the U.S National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The memorandum will see the protection of Guanahacabibes National Park and the Banco de San Antonio, two natural and fragile reserves that sit within a 90-mile stretch in the Gulf of Mexico.

Scientists in America and Cuba will closely work together to conserve the precious marine life including sea turtles, spiny lobsters, and one of Cuba’s most pristine coral reefs which could lead to the revival and protection of other coral reefs in the Gulf of Mexico and South Florida.

One of the biggest threats to the marine species in the region is tourism, and the increase in visitor arrivals by boats and ferries that will occur if general tourism is permitted for Americans.

Overfishing is also a concern for scientists, and sharks, dolphins and manatees are already under threat.Talking about this issues a representative of the Environmental Defence Fund explained:

“Fishing is vital to [Cuba’s] economy, but the majority of its commercially valuable fish stocks are already in critical condition.”

The new agreement between the two countries will see Cuba focus on sustainable fishing and save its migratory shark population.

The recent talks follow the recent resumed diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, after more than five decades of hostilities. Embassies opened in Havana and Washington in July this year, and U.S companies are permitted to open offices in Cuba within certain sectors, such as postal services and telecommunications.


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