Conservation group will supply vessel, crew and more to Island park rangers
Puentarenas, Costa Rica - The Rangers on Cocos Island need a fast patrol vessel and Sea Shepherd can supply that need.
Sea Shepherd arrives in Costa Rica today with an offer to assist the Central American country in controlling illegal fishing in the waters surrounding its Cocos Island National Park.
The non-profit, anti-poaching conservation society has offered to deploy the M/V John Paul DeJoria, a 110-foot Island class former United States Coast Guard patrol boat, to Cocos Island for use by its park rangers. This offer, part of Sea Shepherd’s Operation Treasured Islands campaign, also comes with the supply of Sea Shepherd crew, fuel and provisions, as well as giving Costa Rican rangers command of operations to patrol and protect the Cocos Island marine reserve.
Cocos Island, some 300 miles off the coast of Costa Rica, is home to many large marine species such as hammerhead sharks, rays and dolphins. This makes it a popular destination for scuba divers, but at the same time, attracts illegal poachers, particularly those involved in the shark fin trade.
The M/V John Paul DeJoria will be docked in the city of Puentarenas to introduce itself to Costa Rican government officials, media and general public so the islanders can see the boat first hand.
Operation Treasured Islands to Protect Sharks
Sea Shepherd currently holds the protection of the nearby Central American islands of the Galapagos Corridor, where it has had a partnership with the Galapagos Park rangers for 17 years.
As part of its Operation Treasured Islands campaign, the marine conservation group is currently working on setting up meetings with Colombian authorities to assist at its Malpelo Island, home to hundreds of shark species including hammerheads, silkys and smalltooth sand tigers.
Sea Shepherd’s recent visit to Panama’s Coiba Island was met with a welcome by the rangers and groundwork was laid for future cooperation. Like Costa Rica’s Cocos Island, Coiba is also home to many large marine mammals including humpback whales, orcas, whale sharks and other shark species.
“Our overall long term plan is to build a partnership with Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador and France to help protect Coiba, Cocos, the Galapagos, Malpelo and Clipperton Islands,” said Sea Shepherd founder, president and C.E.O., Captain Paul Watson. “That partnership would entail providing each island with patrol boats and assets to reduce poaching activities to zero.”