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El Salvador celebrates its rich marine life on June 8: World Ocean Day

The increase of business around many marine regions in El Salvador leads to extensive pollution. Tragically, humans dump wastewater directly into the ocean. One species particularly affected is the sea turtle.

  • 9 months ago
  • June 8, 2023
2 min read

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SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — June 8th marks the annual International Day of the Oceans or World Ocean Day. According to the United Nations, the world’s oceans cover 70 percent of the planet. They serve as the habitat for hundreds of thousands of species of life and offer half the Earth’s oxygen.

In El Salvador, there exists many fascinating beaches. Preserved by the country’s inhabitants, they harbor some of the rarest species on Earth. However, plastic pollution, overfishing, and climate change threaten the marine ecosystems present in our daily lives. Survival depends on the preservation of these waters.

An extensive look into El Salvador’s marine life 

El Salvador boasts a wealth of marine life due to its pristine coastal estuaries. Jiquilisco Bay, a 246-square-mile UNESCO Biosphere Reserve on the coastline, has long contributed to a thriving marine life. Many species present in coastal habitats live within Jiquilisco Bay’s beaches, freshwater lagoons, mangrove forests, and estuaries. Sea turtles remain among its most notable inhabitants. 

On La Barra de Santiago, in the department of Ahuachapán, you find a variety of alligators and crocodiles. They live in the mangroves that surround the beach. For this reason, the Ramsar Convention declared the area an Important Wetland in 2014. Another beach, Los Cóbanos, became the first officially-declared protected marine in the country. Scientists estimate its waters remain home to 51 registered marine species. These species wander the coral reefs and live among the whales, which come between December and January every year. The red-mouthed fish remains the most-consumed fish by the country’s people, present all around the coast. And on Playa El Cuco, the beach’s black sand comes from the presence of volcanic sediments.

Amongst the beauty of the coastline, some species struggle to survive

The increase of business around many marine regions in El Salvador leads to extensive pollution. Tragically, humans dump wastewater directly into the ocean. One species particularly affected is the sea turtle. Along the Costa del Sol, you can often find scientists releasing olive ridley turtles. After spending days in an incubating pen, the put the turtles into the water. The sea turtles play a vital role in maintaining population control over jellyfish and other species. Yet, they face constant pollution. Also, while the consumption of turtle eggs is prohibited in the country, many people still sell their eggs illegally.

All photos are courtesy of Beatriz Rivas.

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