Since MarViva stopped patrolling the Coiba National Park, illegal fishing (sport- and commercial fishing) inside the park sadly is getting to a serious problem again. Recently we discovered a big fishing net covering a major part of a dive site called “Bajo 20”. After reporting this to ANAM (the Panamanian Environmental Agency), who is in charge to manage, maintain and protect this UNESCO World Heritage Site, nothing has to be done to remove the net and minimize the damage.
With support of ANCON Expeditions, which covered a part of our logistics costs and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute offering free accommodation while working in Coiba, Scuba Coiba with the help of the professional divers Kevan Mantell, Benjamin Harris and Adrian Sultana removed the net and floated the dive buoy drowned by the net(s) at this deep dive site, what is one of Coiba´s signature dive sites, covered by corals and a very important reproduction area for snappers. The buoy unfortunately lost its flotability due to compression of the foam and had to be temporarily kept afloat through an auxiliary buoy. Hopefully we can get a new buoy soon to replace the temporary system.