Why Coiba´s Marine Life is the most abundant in Panamá?


The islands of Coiba National Park are linked by an underwater mountain chain to Cocos Islands (Costa Rica) and Galapagos (Ecuador).  These three island groups form together with Malpelo and Gorgonia (both Colombia) the greater protected area of the Tropical East Pacific Marine Corridor, one of the most productive eco systems of the world and a gathering ground for large pelagic animals like manta rays, mobula rays, whale sharks, tunas, marlins and sword fish.

feeding whale sharkgiant manta

While Cocos, Galapagos and Malpelo are pelagic islands, Coiba sits on the mainland shelf (the only pelagic island of Panamá is Montuosa, west of Coiba) and therefore the marine life is similar, but cannot be the same as around the famous cousins Cocos and Galapagos. While a diver will probably not see schooling hammerhead- or silky sharks on one of our dive trips the marine life you can expect is nothing less than abundant:

Reef sharks, different schools of jacks, snappers, groupers, grunts, varieties of moray eels, emperor fish, angel-, butterfly-, surgeon- and parrot fish can be encountered on every dive, dolphins can be seen on most boat trips to the island, different species of turtles, eagle rays and sting rays are common the year around. Whale sharks, manta rays and schools of mobulas (devil rays) visit some of our dive / snorkel sites in certain seasons. Humpback whales come in to give birth around end of June and can be watched in a responsible way from July to October. Other whales, what can be seen sometimes are Orcas and Pilot whales.

This abundance is caused by the convergence of different oceanic currents. Nutrient-rich cool currents are brought to the surface by upwelling and with them tons of bait fish, which attract larger predators like sharks, mantas and tunas. The warm Indo-Pacific current made it possible that Coiba has the largest coral reef of the American Pacific Coast and more tropical and colorful reef life, unknown elsewhere in the Eastern Pacific.

 

 

The unique protected location in the Chiriqui Gulf makes the waters around Coiba also to the probably most important reproduction site of the Eastern Pacific Marine Corridor.

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