Fernando Mario Gonzalez, deputy minister of the Cuban Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment, and Kathryn Sullivan, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States, signed the document at the headquarters of the island's Foreign Ministry.
Pedro Ramos, Superintendent of Everglades and Dry Tortugas national parks, also signed the agreement that legitimizes the intention of the parties of conserving biodiversity and promoting the sustainable use of several protected marine areas.
The areas identified in the memorandum are the Guanahacabibes National Park and the Bank of San Antonio, in the province of Pinar del Rio; as well as the U.S. Flower Garden Banks and the Florida Keys, including The Everglades and Dray Tortuga parks.
During the signing ceremony, Sullivan stressed that this legal instrument will make it possible to establish a valuable partnership between authorities, scientists and administrators of the United States and Cuba, to develop the best ways to protect marine sanctuaries, connected by oceanic currents.
It also confirms the intention expressed by both Governments to promote cooperation in science and education, pointed out the director of the Office belonging to the Department of Commerce.
Meanwhile, Gonzalez noted that the document signed is the result of hard work started nine months ago, when U.S. and Cuban scientists first sat down to discuss about protected marine areas.
We are confident that this agreement will mark the beginning of sustained exchanges, resulting in scientific research and to share best practices in the management and conservation of coastal and marine resources towards beneficial cooperation for our nations and others in the region, asserted the first deputy minister of CITMA, Fernando Mario Gonzalez.
The signing was also attended by Josefina Vidal, director general of the United States Office of the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and other top officials of the two countries.
The ceremony took place a few days after the visit to the island of Thomas Vislack, Secretary of Agriculture of the United States, the third member of the highest level of President Obama's cabinet traveling to Havana after the reestablishment of diplomatic ties on July 20, 2015. / CNA.