People for a Healthy Gulf

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RS14072_Panama latrine 2The 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

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Seed_tray_PanamaRecent project highlights:

Tree IconPlanting_PanamaCountry: Panama

Year Project Began: 2008

Partners: Natura Foundation

Size of Project Site: 30,812 hectares

Population of Project Site: 4,940

Languages Spoken: Kuna, Spanish

Peoples: Kuna, Embera, Wounaan, mestizo, Spanish descent

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

Solutions: Community collaboration, composting latrines, environmental educationfuel-efficient stoves, watershed management


Hawksbill turtle

Hawksbill turtle

Select species at this project site:


A girl proudly displays her handmade earrings.

A girl proudly displays her handmade earrings.

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.