The Beacon

Setting Sail for Sala y Gómez and Easter Island

The Chilean Naval ship Comandante Toro.

On Sunday Oceana and the National Geographic Society, in an unprecedented collaboration with the Chilean Navy, launched a scientific expedition to the waters that surround Chile’s Sala y Gómez Island and Easter Island.

The expedition comes after a preliminary trip by Oceana and National Geographic last March. The results of that initial journey, as you may recall, led the Chilean government to create a no-take marine reserve, Motu Motiro Hiva Marine Park, around Sala y Gómez. At 150,000 square kilometers, the park increases Chile’s protected marine areas from 0.03% to 4.4%.

The scientific results of this expedition will be crucial in monitoring the new marine park, and the scientists will assess the health of the waters surrounding Easter Island to determine the need for new conservation measures. Easter Island’s EEZ includes currently unprotect underwater mountains.

The Chilean Navy is contributing one of its newest and most modern vessels: the offshore patrol vessel known as “Comandante Toro.” In order to best study the marine ecosystems of the Motu Motiro Hiva Marine Park and Easter Island, the expedition team will use high tech equipment, including a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that can capture high definition images 300 meters below sea level; four spherical crystal drop cameras for remote deep water filming up to 4000 meters below sea level and three PAT satellites to tag and track the migratory movements of sharks.

We’ll be sure to keep you posted as the expedition progresses!


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