FAICO celebrates 28 years as a strategic partner of Cocos Island

  • The organization was a key stakeholder for Costa Rica to achieve the goal of conserving at least 30% of its ocean surface before 2030

San Jose, May 13, 2022. Since 1994, FAICO, Friends Cocos Island Foundation, has promoted countless initiatives aimed at conserving biodiversity and the unique and exceptional terrestrial and marine ecosystems of Cocos Island and the Eastern Tropical Pacific.

Faico’s work has made it possible to channel financial, human, and technical resources to support the country’s conservation efforts for the benefit of this World Heritage Site. This long history has successfully consolidated a strategic partnership model that inspires marine conservation globally.

FAICO thanks the Cocos Marine Conservation Area (ACMC), its partners, and other government authorities on this 28-year journey. In 2021, the support of FAICO was essential for the Government of Costa Rica to expand the area of Cocos Island National Park and to create the Bicentennial Marine Management Area, a historic milestone for the country. The conservation of these new protected areas represents new challenges and opportunities, which FAICO will continue to strongly support.

Alejandra Villalobos Directora Ejecutiva de Faico

For the Executive Director of Faico, Alejandra Villalobos, “Our work has been possible thanks to countless local and international partners, which have allowed us to consolidate key actions for the management of the island and its adjacent sites; we have added topics such as control, surveillance, research, quality of life of park rangers, infrastructure, equipment, environmental education, and management of natural resources”.

With the arrival of a new administration, FAICO considers it essential to continue the great achievements of the country in matters related to marine conservation. Marine protected areas are essential to conserve biodiversity, scenic beauty, and cultural heritage. In addition, the ecosystem services they provide are essential to maintain economic activities such as tourism and fishing.

Importance of Cocos Island

Cocos Island, located just over 500 kilometers away from the coast, provides Costa Rica with a gigantic marine area (nearly 11 times its land area), which is why we are the largest country in Central America.

A study prepared by the International Center of Economic Policy for Sustainable Development (CINPE) estimated that the protected areas around Cocos Island generate around $51 million annually, resulting from different sources:  tourism, research and education, sports fishing, and longline fishing. With this, it is evident that marine protected areas are key to economic reactivation, if sustainable use of the resources they provide is promoted.

“Given the relevance of Cocos Island in a national and regional context, we believe that the best way to conserve marine ecosystems is through solid management strategies and effective compliance with regulations by the State and its users”, added the Executive Director of Faico.

During these 28 years, FAICO has stood out for:

  • Supporting, together with other partners, the Government of Costa Rica to achieve the expansion of protected areas around Cocos Island, thus settling a historical debt with marine conservation.
  • Promoting the declaration of Cocos Island National Park as a World Heritage Site and Global Ocean Refuge (Blue Park).
  • Developing management instruments in coordination with the Cocos Marine Conservation Area, for example: the Prevention, Protection, and Control Plan, the Environmental Education Plan, the Equipment and Infrastructure Maintenance Plan, the Pelagic Species Monitoring Protocol, and the Characterization of Industrial Fishing Pressure.

If you want to know more about Faico, Friends of Cocos Island Foundation, you can click on the following link: https://www.cocosisland.org/