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US and Cuba team up to protect the ocean

I santuari nazionali di Florida e Texas collaboreranno con le aree protette cubane Guanahacabibes e Banco de San Antonio per preservare gli ecosistemi marini.

The relationships between the United States and Cuba are historically hostile, considering the trade embargo on Cuba established by Eisenhower in 1960, or the attempts carried out by US secret service aimed at overthrowing Fidel Castro’s government. Diplomatic relations, exacerbated during George W. Bush presidency, have started to improve with Barack Obama’s election.

 

obama castro
Cuban President Raul Castro US and President Barack Obama (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

 

Nevertheless, favourable relationships between the two countries could help the environment and marine biodiversity. Indeed, the US and Cuba have reached their first agreement on environmental protection, cooperating to safeguard marine ecosystems.

 

The agreement, signed last Wednesday, sets that the US marine sanctuaries of Florida Keys and Flower Garden Banks will collaborate with the Cuban protected areas of Guanahacabibes and Banco de San Antonio.

 

The four sanctuaries are home to similar varieties of fish and corals. Researchers thus hope that the partnership will allow sharing management and research efforts to better preserve such fragile ecosystems, which are threatened by tourism and increased oil explorations.

 

tartaruga marina
The agreement between Cuba and the United States will allow to improve the safeguard of the countires’ richness in ecosystems

 

The marine environment of Cuba is characterised by a rich biodiversity. It is home to a great variety of fish, sharks, and marine turtles, and boasts a relatively intact coral reef.

 

“We recognize we all share the same ocean and face the same challenges of understanding, managing, and conserving critical marine resources for future generations,” said Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, administrator at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). “The opportunity for international cooperation in marine conservation is invaluable and this moves us closer to ensuring a healthy and productive ocean for everyone.”

 

florida key
The marine sanctuary of Florida Keys is an archipelago of 1,700 islands, south-east the United States

 

Cuban and US researchers will assess their respective protected areas and will share data and information in order to face current threats. All this will exclusively benefit fish, turtles, birds, and cetaceans, creatures that do not conceive borders and national rivalry.

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