Cuba, "Crown Jewel Of Caribbean Biodiversity," Threatened

November 30, 2000

Our work in Cuba: A new era for ocean conservation

Cuba has one of the Caribbean’s most diverse marine environments, with massive reefs that exceed the Florida Keys and serve as spawning grounds for many species of fish. Environmental Defense scientists and attorneys and their Cuban colleagues are working to protect these marine treasures by reducing overfishing and helping design protected areas for marine life. In addition to publishing marine research and building education programs with Cuban scientists, Environmental Defense will co-sponsor the Fifth Cuban Marine Science Congress, December 4-8 in Havana.

“Cuba is the Caribbean’s biological crown jewel,” said Environmental Defense scientist Dr. Ken Lindeman. “With over 3,000 miles of coastline and 4,200 islets and keys ? Cuba is literally teeming with marine and terrestrial treasures. Cuba is also at a historic crossroads: coastal development and overfishing have begun to damage these resources. Environmental Defense and our Cuban colleagues are working to ensure Cuba’s resources are preserved for future generations.”

In December, 500 managers and scientists from Cuba and the rest of Latin America, North America and Europe will gather in Havana for the Fifth Cuban Marine Science Congress to present the latest research on marine conservation. Environmental Defense scientists and Cuban colleagues will present research on innovative designs for marine protected areas that can benefit local fishers. Environmental Defense experts also will present lessons learned in coastal protection along the US Atlantic coast, where water pollution, habitat destruction and overfishing also threaten marine life.

“Cuba is the environmental keystone of the Caribbean. This conference is a crucial gathering of knowledge that can help preserve the marine treasures of the greater Caribbean for years to come,” said Environmental Defense scientist Dr. Doug Rader.