Cuba's magnificent coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangrove forests teem with marine life—including sea turtles, many species of reef fish, sharks, dolphins and manatees. Fishing is vital to the nation's economy and local livelihoods, but 60% or more of its commercially valuable fish stocks are already in critical condition.
Our work in Cuba
We're one of the few U.S. organizations that since 2000 have built the strong local relationships essential to success. We helped design Cuba's nationwide network of more than 100 marine protected areas and have supported the work of Cuba's leading marine scientists and conservationists.
Any strategy to secure healthy and resilient marine ecosystems in Cuba requires getting fisheries right. Fisheries pose the greatest short-term threat to these ecosystems, they also present the best opportunity to build science-based policies, strong management institutions and support.
EDF and our partners are studying sharks in Cuban waters and have helped develop the first-ever National Plan of Action for Shark Conservation and Management [PDF]. This plan includes harvest controls, protected areas and management tools designed to safeguard this top-predator animal essential for healthy marine ecosystems.
Over the years EDF has worked with Cuban scientists to identify the most important marine habitats for conservation and strategies for coastal zone management. Today, Cuba is more than halfway to their goal, with more than 100 MPAs established representing nearly 25% of its marine area, and they are continuing on their way.