Another win for the world of ocean conservation was announced at the 2023 Our Ocean Conference in Panama City, Panama. President Laurentino Cortizo and the Minister of Environment of Panama, Milciades Concepción, formally signed a decree during the opening ceremony to significantly expand the Banco Volcán Area of Managed Resources. The area now includes more than 90,000 square kilometers of marine protection, with over half of it being placed under full protection.
Concepción’s exact words were, “Therefore, as of today, through this conference, we announce that the Republic of Panama will be conserving 54.26% of its exclusive economic zone.” The announcement follows promises made last year at the 2022 United Nations Oceans Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, where the Panamanian government unveiled commitments to having at least 40% of its waters protected.
This news confirms Panama as the leading country in marine protection in Latin America. It also places it in the top echelon of countries pursuing commitments to protect at least 30% of the ocean by 2030. Panama now has over 50% of its waters under some form of protection, though not all are under high or full protection.
The newly expanded Banco Volcán Area of Managed Resources gives vital protection to several species of shark as well as over 120 other pelagic fish species. We applaud the Panamanian government for becoming a champion in ocean conservation. Nations like Panama set an example for the rest of the global community to follow in their footsteps as we continue down the path toward #Ocean30×30.