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US-Cuba Environment Agreement: What’s in it?

cuba coral sharks
Written by RelevantStuff

Officials from the USA and Cuba signed an environmental MoU for the first time to enforce the preservation of MPA’s (Marine Protected Areas) within and around the two countries.

Many points were agreed upon with this MoU. Some significant highlights of this MoU are as follows:

(1) The main goal of the MoU is to protect two fragile reserves that lie within the 90 mile stretch of the Gulf of Mexico. Specifically, these reserves are Guanahacabibes National Park and the Banco de San Antonio.

(2)  The agreement aims to protect several other reserves and ecosystems including the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuaries, Biscayne National Park and the Dry Tortugas.

(3) The treaty was sealed by (from the U.S.) Kathryn Dwyer Sullivan, director, U.S. National Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and (from Cuba) Fernando Gonzalez, vice-president-science, technology and environment. Sullivan is a geologist besides being a former astronaut.

cuba coral sharks

(source:greenwithrenvy)

(4) A point to be noted is that the region being protected under the treaty includes a number of rare and vulnerable species, such as spiny lobsters, sea turtles, and the most exotic of Cuba’s coral reefs. Whether these reefs are protected or damaged, the effect transpires across the Gulf of Mexico as well as South Florida.

(5) Over-fishing in Cuba has affected many species of reef fish, dolphins, manatees and sharks. A large majority of Cuba’s fish commercially significant fish stocks are already in critical condition. Add to that the rising tourist traffic, and there’s no guarantee how long these stocks might last.  This agreement will focus on sustainable fishing, that would combine keeping a check on the fishing numbers, while not affecting commercial figures to a considerable extent.

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