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Nicaragua: caribbean coast
Jameson, S.C.; Trott, L.B.; Marshall, M.J.; Childress, M.J. (2000). Nicaragua: caribbean coast, in: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 1. Regional chapters: Europe, The Americas and West Africa. pp. 517-530
In: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) (2000). Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 1. Regional chapters: Europe, The Americas and West Africa. Pergamon: Amsterdam. ISBN 0-08-043207-7. XXI, 934 pp., more

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Document type: Review


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  • Jameson, S.C.
  • Trott, L.B.
  • Marshall, M.J.
  • Childress, M.J.

    Nicaragua's Caribbean coastline is 450 km long and fringes the largest continental shelf in Central America. Coastal forests are still abundant despite large-scale clearing, and hardwoods abound in the coastal zone where exploitation has been difficult. Most rainfall drainage flows to the Caribbean. The coastal zone contains a great diversity of resources and ecosystems with great potential for generating wealth and a good quality of life. Offshore, coral reefs vary from small patches and pinnacles to large, complicated platforms and well-defined belts and, apart from the narrow zone occupied by the coastal boundary current, are distributed across virtually the entire shelf. Their distribution is partly determined by river flow rates and proximity to land, and by the frequency of storms. There are also many coral cays. Seagrass beds are some of the most extensive in the Caribbean, if not the world, providing major feeding grounds for large populations of green turtles. Mangroves are also extensive, bordering an estimated 600 km² of lagoon shores. Nicaragua's natural resources have not been adequately monitored but it is apparent that in many cases they have been degraded. Most of the population is involved in subsistence farming. The commercial and artisanal lobster fishery fleets are significant, and shrimp are the second most important fishery. Evidence exists of over-exploitation in some cases but, with proper management, the marine system has great potential both for Nicaragua and for the condition of the Caribbean Sea Large Marine Ecosystem. The government understands the value of these resources and has received excellent natural resource management guidance and technical assistance. Preventing the mismanagement and destruction of these resources and ecosystems, which has occurred in other Central American countries, now depends on the ability of government and the Nicaraguan people to work together.

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