The Gulf of San Miguel—which contains 17 percent of all mangroves found in Panama—is a critical nursery habitat and home to marine and fish life that support the ocean ecosystem and the artisanal fisheries of the area. Poor sewage and solid waste management, unsustainable fishing practices, deforestation, and poaching are some of the problems adversely affecting the Gulf. EcoLogic partners with six local communities to strengthen local fishing organizations, provide low-impact fishing gear, improve alternative livelihood opportunities, and advocate for the establishment of a federally protected zone within the Gulf.
Local Partner: Natura Foundation
Year Project Began: 2008
Recent project highlights:
- Developed a proposal to declare the mangrove complex of the Congo-Cunatati rivers a national protected area.
- Developed a monitoring and evaluation plan for waste management.
- eNews: Teaching the “Three Rs” of Trash Management
- Blog: Common Commute
- Blog: Ambassador’s Choice
- eNews: Project Spotlight: The Gulf of San Miguel, Panama
- Blog: Panama Latrine Team
Year Project Began: 2008
Partners: Natura Foundation
Size of Project Site: 30,812 hectares
Population of Project Site: 4,940
Languages Spoken: Kuna, Spanish
Sources of Income: Fishing, farming, cattle ranching, timber, resource extraction, mineral extraction, hunting
Unique Environmental and Geographic Features: Panama’s largest river, the Tuira, feeds into the Gulf of San Miguel. The region, which contains 17 percent of all of Panama’s mangroves, is a critical habitat and/or nursery for over one third of all marine species in the area.
Ecosystems: Tropical wet forest, mangrove, coastal/marine
Endangered Species: At least 32
Select species at this project site:
- American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus)
- Bullseye electric ray (Diplobatis ommata)
- Cuipo (Cavanillesia platanifolia)
- Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
- Kapok tree (Ceiba pentandra)
- Leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)
- Panamanian night monkey (Aotus zonalis)
- Spanish cedar (Cedrela odorata)
- Stream side rainfrog (Craugastor punctariolus)
Select progress made by EcoLogic and local partners in 2012-2013:
- Legally established a water board for a local community.
- Trained three fishing communities to record the type and quantity (including species and poundage) of the fish and marine products they harvest from the Gulf.
- Provided training to five communities in composting organic materials, managing solid waste and trash, and dealing with sewage and sanitation.
- Conducted several environmental education workshops in the five communities.
- Provided training to three fisherfolk associations in fisheries law and sustainable fishing practices.
- Provided technical assistance to two communities in the design and implementation of waste management plans.
- Provided training in the use and maintenance of composting latrines in two communities.