Cuba and the USA agreed on Wednesday to protect jointly the flora and fauna that share by being separated by just 140 kilometers (90 miles), in the first environmental agreement since the two countries announced plans to renew diplomatic relations.
“We recognize that we all share the same ocean and face the same challenges to understanding, manage and conserve critical marine resources for future generations,” said Kathryn Sullivan, director of the Environmental Manager.
The memorandum signed by the US and Cuban officials in Havana instructs scientists maritime shelters the Florida Keys and Texas to collaborate with researchers in two protected but fragile reservations: the Guanahacabibes National Park and Bank of San Antonio, located on the western edge of the region.
Sustaining the Cleanliness of the Ocean
Ocean currents mobilize the same fish and agencies coasts of Cuba to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, which makes preservation and sustainability issues as an area of mutual interest for scientists from both nations.
Washington and Havana announced in December that it would resume diplomatic relations, and they did in July.
- Environmental Manager has been one of the most visible areas of progress in the relationship at a time when the United States and Cuba negotiated and discussed many issues.
- It includes much thornier issues such as the embargo and the Guantanamo naval base, as well as the situation of human rights and democracy on the island.
- US Secretary of State John Kerry announced in October that both countries negotiated a marine agreement preservation.
- That same month, Cuba and the Environmental Defense Fund, based in the United States, announced an initiative to protect shark populations, record the amount of fishing and develop a plan for long-term preservation.
- Cuban scientists checked out around the island in a research cruise to study the larvae of bluefin tuna, a species commercially valuable and highly threatened.
“We hope that this document will mark the beginning of a sustainable process of exchange that allows us to develop scientific research and share best management practices and conservation,” said Wednesday Fernando Mario Gonzalez Bermudez, first vice minister at the Ministry of Science, Technology and the environment.
The marine ecosystem of the journal of environmental sustainability is considered one of the best preserved in the region, with vast reserves of coral and fish, sharks and sea turtles.
But these ecosystems could be threatened at a time when Cuba continues to look for offshore oil and increasing tourism.
Billy Causey, regional director of NOAA who helped negotiate the agreement, said the challenges shared shelters partly determined the relationship.
This park is the largest reserves and isolated from Cuba. Scientists will join researchers from the sanctuary of the Florida Keys, an area that receives over 3 million visitors a year.
Scientists from the US and the world will gather this week in Havana for the journal of environmental sustainability where they will discuss climate change and preservation.