The Beacon

Victory! Chilean Senate Recommends MPA Around Sala y Gómez Island

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Big news for a pristine patch of ocean off the coast of Chile: Last week the Chilean Senate’s Fisheries Committee unanimously agreed that the Chilean government should establish a 200 nautical mile marine protected area around the Island of Sala y Gómez, near Easter Island.

Oceana and National Geographic have been promoting the protection of this area, which still remains virtually unexplored, and which may well be one of the last pristine vulnerable marine ecosystems in the Pacific.

Both organizations are planning an expedition to the island next year to develop a baseline of biological information that will facilitate the design of a conservation plan for the area, complementing the proposed MPA.

It will be the second expedition for both groups. This past March, National Geographic and Oceana participated in a preliminary expedition to this island. Using an ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle), the groups recorded the first high-definition images of the seabed, more than 100 meters deep.

On that expedition the science team, which included Michel Garcia - resident diver of Easter Island and former member of Jacques Cousteau’s team - verified the presence of a great abundance of marine life.

Congrats to our Chilean colleagues and we look forward to hearing more from the forthcoming expedition!

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