Pristine Sea Mounts Edge Closer To Protection Off Chile


In what could be a key step

to the formation of the second largest protected area

in the open oceans,

a Chilean Senate committee has urged declaration of a large scale marine park around remote Salas y Gomez Island.

The recommendation to create the marine park stretching 200 nautical miles around the island – about 380 km east of Easter Island in the South Pacific – was a unanimous decision of the Senate’s Committee on Maritime Interests, Fisheries, and Aquaculture.

At about 240,000 square kilometres WWF-Chile estimates the new marine park would be the planet’s second largest such area, following the recently declared Chagos no-take marine reserve under UK jurisdiction in the Indian Ocean. Under Chilean law marine parks only allow activities such as observation, investigation, and research with permits, with due respect for freedom of navigation according to international law.

“This is really good news, and we hope that it will pave the way to protect other kinds of marine ecosystems in Chile which lack legal protection in the face of great threats, like the Corcovado Gulf, home of the endangered blue whale,” said Mauricio Galvez, WWF Chile’s Marine Conservation Coordinator.