Colombian President Iván Duque announced the extension of Operation Artemisa, a scheme devised to protect Colombian seas from illegal fishing while standing up for biodiversity in national waters.
Duque launched the commencement of a new phase of Operation Artemisa during a visit to the Gorgona Natural Park on the Colombian Pacific shore. The new stage will be focused biodiversity and the threats posed to it by poachers. Operation Artemisa was created in order to protect water, biodiversity and the environment from criminals who threaten resources of national interest.
“We are also going to enable a chapter of Operation Artemis in the seas, to protect the historic atolls and coral reefs of our country. That, to put a perspective, the entire set of coral reefs on the planet is home to more than 45% of marine species. Protecting the coral reefs and those historic atolls means protecting the biodiversity in our oceans,“ Duque said.
In operational terms, the responsibility will lie with the Colombian Navy, which will assist the Coast Guard “to face many of the threats to these coral reefs, such as illegal trawling, or the fishing that is done indiscriminately,” Duque added.
Duque also announced his Government would strengthen the National Natural Parks System, with an investment worth US $ 12.6 million, specifically to Gorgona, an island 28 kilometers from the Pacific coast, which would be allocated US $ 1.5 million to improve the infrastructure for park rangers and also for ecotourism services.
In November 2021, Duque announced the thirteenth phase of Operation Artemisa to preserve more than 1,100 hectares of forests in the Colombian Amazon near the Nukak National Natural Reserve Zone. It was a coordinated effort by the Military Forces, the National Police, the Ministry of Environment, the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (Ideam) and the Prosecutor's Office, in the villages of Puerto Valencia, municipality of El Retorno, and Puerto Flores, municipality of San José del Guaviare.
Operation Artemisa has led to the arrest of 96 suspects, in addition to dismantling 32 buildings inside the National Natural Parks, while seizing 650 heads of cattle and affecting criminal economies during the 12 previous phases.
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