Decision : CONF 201 XII.44-46
Cocos Island National Park (Costa Rica)
XII.44 The Bureau was informed that after the illegal fishing incident in October 2001 the State Party has undertaken significant actions to increase the protection of the Marine Reserve. These actions include establishing co-operation with the National Coast Guard Service (NCGS) and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society for patrolling the marine area, extension of the marine limits up to 12 nautical miles and prosecution of illegal fishing boat owners.
XII.45 IUCN congratulated the State Party on the actions taken to protect the site and on the intentions of the State Party to also expand the boundaries of the World Heritage site to match the new marine limits of 12 nautical miles. He informed the Bureau of the proposal for the creation of “Pacific Biological Corridor” between Costa Rica, Ecuador, Colombia and Panamá. The aim of the proposal is to improve the protection of existing protected areas within the Corridor, including two World Heritage sites, namely Cocos Island and Galapagos Marine Reserve, as well as to help prevent marine transportation related accidents and illegal fishing within the region. The proposal is a joint effort between the above-mentioned State Parties, IUCN, Conservation International and UNEP and it is currently being prepared for GEF funding.
XII.46 The Bureau commended the State Party on its efforts to achieve protection of the site with limited resources, and the forming of a strategic partnership with the National Coast Guard Service and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. It noted that the recent prosecution of the Ecuadorian vessel underlined the commitment of the State Party and sets a precedent for further prosecutions. The Bureau recognised the continuing financial constraints preventing the full enforcement of the present laws and regulations and the courage and dedication of those rangers who have been tackling the poaching threat for years. The Bureau congratulated the State Party on the extension of the Marine Park boundaries to 12 nautical miles, and, in light of the desire of the State Party to extend the boundaries of the World Heritage site to be commensurate with these new boundaries, requested that a proposal be submitted in due course, including a map of the extension. The Bureau fully supported the efforts by The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, particularly in seeking donations of fast boats, a radar system and other equipment to give to the Cocos Island National Park Ranger Station. If necessary, the State Party may wish to consider requesting additional assistance from the World Heritage Fund.