CRC signs agreement to co-participate in marine sanctuary protection

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A public-private partnership to protect the Southeastern Reefs Marine Sanctuary, the second largest protected area in the country, on the south eastern coast of the Dominican Republic, was agreed between the Ministry of Environment and a coalition including the Central Romana Foundation, industry representatives, fishermen cooperatives and other communities, and others. The protected area comprises the coastal-marine zone from San Pedro de Macorís to Cabo Engaño and extends to the Canal de la Mona.

Two nonprofit foundations will implement activities defined each year by a Council of co-management, who will be responsible for monitoring the performance of these organizations.

The environmental activities for the eastern part of the sanctuary will be implemented by the Alianza Arrecifes del Este, a non-profit organization formed by the Association of Hotels and Tourism of the Eastern region, the Association of Aquatic Services of the La Altagracia province, the Punta Cana Foundation, the Tourism Cluster of La Altagracia and the International Association Blue Finance.

In the southern part of the sanctuary, environmental activities will be performed by the Consorcio Arrecifes del Sur, an entity formed by the Central Romana Foundation, FUNDEMAR, the Tourism Cluster of La Romana-Bayahibe, the Hotels Association of La Romana-Bayahibe, and the International Association Blue Finance

The foundations will provide the staff and the necessary equipment, and will be responsible for securing the necessary finance through additional investors, entrance fees for the sanctuary and other services related to sustainable tourism. The activities will cover ecosystem improvement, job creation for coastal communities and fishermen, environmental education, surveillance, communication, and maintenance.

The main purpose of the agreement is to ensure effective management and sustainable financing for the sanctuary. The benefits expected for the nation are conserving and restoring the marine biodiversity of the country, improving the sanctuary as a touristic attraction, creating new jobs and opportunities in the eco-tourism sector, providing alternatives to unsustainable fishing, and increasing resilience to climate change.

The Southeastern Reefs Marine Sanctuary is a nature reserve created by Government Decree 571-09, whose purpose is to preserve the natural habitat and the special ecosystem formed along the continental shelf of the South-East region of the Hispaniola island. The protected area, the second largest in the country, has an area of 7,862.59 square kilometers and ranges from the Canal de la Mona (to the East of Cabo Engaño) to the existing marina portion South of the Higuamo River. Numerous ocean species inhabit the sanctuary.