The Pacific Ocean of Panama has 80 different species of coral, this is 40% more that any other region in the oriental Pacific from Mexico to Ecuador. The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute is conducting a study of corals on Coiba Island in the Panamanian Pacific, off the coast of Veraguas. There are 23 species of hard coral and 58 species of hard coral. Around 12 of these species are new species, not previously included in the rosters of coral species. Of the 12 species 3 are endemic or unique to this region.
A lot of the diversity and new species that are gaining strength and multiplying are due to better vigilance in the park to keep hazards at bay. The main hazards to species in Coiba are the destruction of beaches, uncontrolled fishing activity, cattle grazing, farming and tourism. Another measure taken to protect Coiba is a recent moratorium on developments in Coiba. No tourism or housing developments can be built on the island for the next five years. What will be built is a scientific station by the Authority for the Environment (ANAM) and the National Secretary’s Office for Science and Technology (SENACYT) to study the different ecosystems and species in Coiba.
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