MigraMar developped the concept of MigraVía (Spanish for swimway, marine migratory conectivity corridor) in response to the need to implement special regulated areas that allow safeguarding the connectivity and integrity of both open water and reef ecosystems between the different MPAs in the region. The MigraVías are a set of connectivity conservation projects that create linkages and marine corridors between protected areas and other patches of habitats such as seamounts and underwater ridges, increasing the mobility and range of many species and allowing them to move across the seascape so that gene flow and diversity are maintained between local populations. By linking populations throughout the seascape, there is a lower chance for extinction and a muc greater support for species richness, and populations resilience against climate change. MigraVías are based on scientific evidence from organisms that move between different patches of habitat and work by increasing connectivity between these patches through conservation measures that allow them to move safely along the swimways. MigraVías are typically long habitats relative to their width, and they connect fragmented patches of marine habitat. They can vary greatly in shape, size, composition and governance; some swimways may be local or national, while MigraVías are mainly transboundary and cover large expenses of waters between two or more countries, including high seas beyond national jurisdictions.
In conjunction with PACIFICO, we are currently assessing national governments to propose the creation of the two first MigraVías (Spanish for swimways) in the Eastern Pacific: 1) the Galapagos-Cocos MigraVía between Ecuador and Costa Rica, and 2) the Malpelo-Coiba MigraVía between Colombia and Panama. The Galapagos-Coco MigraVía will cover an area of ocean approximately 600 x 200 km (372 x 124 miles or 46,000 sq miles) that follows the Cocos Ridge, an underwater mountain range that links the Galapagos and Coco MPAs in Ecuador and Costa Rica. The Malpelo-Coiba MigraVía will cover an area of ocean approximately 350 x 175 km (218 x 108 miles or 23,500 sq miles) that follows the Coiba Ridge, an underwater mountain range that links the Malpelo and Coiba MPAs in Colombia and Panama. Other MigraVías are in a preliminary study phase or conceptual framework and include marine megafauna connectivity conservation areas between the Gulf of California and Revillagigedo (Mexico), Revillagigedo and Clipperton (Mexico – France), Revillagigedo – Rocas Alijos – Guadalupe – the Channel Islands of California (Mexico – USA), and Juan Fernández – Rapa Nui – Pitcairn Islands (Chile – UK).
For more detailed information, download our MigraVías fact sheet