Viva El Océano!
Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel
After more than 50 years of political discord, the United States and Cuba have agreed to join forces to protect the ocean and sea life within their shared coastal waters.
Just before the holidays U.S. and Cuban officials met in Havana and signed an Environmental Accord to work together to safeguard the precious marine ecosystems that exist within the 90 miles separating the two nations.
Among the sea life covered in the accord are 6,000 marine species including sea turtles, Caribbean reef fish, manta rays and whale sharks.
Plus the world's third largest barrier reef, salt domes rising from the ocean floor and mangrove forest and seagrass meadow habitats.
Kathryn Sullivan, Chief of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), emphasized that the agreement would have a lasting impact, saying, "We all share the same ocean and face the same challenges of understanding, managing and conserving critical marine resources for future generations."
National ParkService Director Jonathan B. Jarvis added, "This is a great way to preserve our shared natural heritage of the wider Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico regions. After all, fish, marine mammals, sea turtles, birds and other marine life exist in ecosystems that rarely fall within maps drawn by man.”
SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel learned that scientists from marine sanctuaries in Florida and Texas will be working with their counterparts at Cuba's Guanahacabibes National Park and the Banco de San Antonio to conduct research and develop sustainable practices.
As part of the agreement, NOAA stated that the U.S. and Cuba will share technical and scientific data and promote education and outreach initiatives.
This new Caribbean alliance fits perfectly into NOAA's far-reaching mission, "To understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun."
Focusing on the ocean has brought two nations closer...and brought the world closer – for nature and mankind.
Peace on Earth
Paz en la tierra
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