Galápagos to Cocos Island
We teamed up with a coalition of partners from several countries to study an area that is truly worthy of protection, an international high seas zone of special concern. The Marine Protected Areas in both the Galápagos archipelago of Ecuador and Cocos Island of Costa Rica are both world-class pristine areas. The underwater geology in between them is characterized by many seamounts, an underwater cordillera, or mountain range. This area is little understood and suspected to be interconnected in extremely important ways. What relationships do the two parks have to each other? What can be done to protect areas in the swimway between them to further benefit much larger areas of adjacent ocean? How can we work together in the future to do so? This project, put together and attended by scientists from Fundación Pacifico, MigraMar and the University of Costa Rica, was also attended by representatives of both parks (Galápagos and Cocos). Our primary method was to deploy Baited Remote Underwater Viewers or BRUVs. These baited cameras deployed in a string at different depths, record everything that comes up to have a look. This included several different species and most interestingly massive schools of Hammerhead sharks. Afterwards, personnel from both parks and Ministers of the Environment from both Costa Rica and Ecuador signed an agreement to continue to work together in the future to protect this special habitat. We suspect this project and its results will attract attention to not only important issues but also interesting ones, and hope this is only the beginning of more study and protections for this unique habitat.