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El Salvador
Cotsapas, L.; Zengel, S.A.; Barraza, E.J. (2000). El Salvador, in: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 1. Regional chapters: Europe, The Americas and West Africa. pp. 545-558
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

Available in Authors 
Document type: Review

Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Cotsapas, L.
  • Zengel, S.A.
  • Barraza, E.J.

Abstract
    The coastal zone of El Salvador is diverse and supports several different coastal and marine habitats, with the outer coastline dominated by sand (or mixed sand and gravel) beaches and rocky shorelines (rocky platforms and cliffs) and the estuarine areas dominated by mangroves and tidal flats. Rocky reefs and sand bottom habitats occur in nearshore marine waters. El Salvador's coastal and marine habitats, ecosystems, and their associated biota, have not been studied extensively. Practically the entire coastal zone area of El Salvador is inhabited, although few urban areas are present - the largest city is Acajutla (est. population 67,000). Fishing is a principal economic activity at both artisanal and commercial levels, and is mostly unregulated. Certain land-use and agricultural practices are possibly causing environmental impacts in the coastal zone. Examples include excessive deforestation, over-grazing, soil erosion, poor water resources management, and run-off of agricultural chemicals. Largely untreated wastewater discharges from industrial and domestic sources may also be a source of pollution in coastal and marine areas. In terms of sediment contamination, the immediate vicinity of highly industrialized areas, such as the major maritime port, are the most polluted, with other areas showing low or background levels of contaminants. Small oil spills near port areas have also been documented. The recently passed Environmental Law of El Salvador may provide a mechanism to protect the nation's coastal zone and marine resources from future degradation. A system of protected areas, including the nation's first marine protected site, will also serve in this regard.

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