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Bioprospecting on Coiba
Alex Steffen, 5 May 05

Here's an interesting piece on efforts to balance local use rights, conservation and bioprospecting on Coiba, the largest Central American Pacific island; an island that appears to be a fountainhead of medically-useful species:

The 10-mile wide and 30-mile long island possesses a unique ecology that may host potential drugs for treating numerous ills. The future of Coiba depends on how its resources are managed by the government.

Coiba and its surrounding waters were established as a national park in 1991 but initially this legislation did little to protect the islands 4200 acres (1700 hectares) of coral reef which was endangered due to heavy fishing. The island was almost opened up to developers for the construction of resorts, golf courses and the like in 2002, but these plans were derailed in light of recent discoveries on the reefs of Coiba.

(thanks, Sue!)

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