Oceana Magazine: Summer 2012
By Emily Fisher
Easter Island is one of the world’s most isolated places.
With an area of only 64 square miles, it lies in the Pacific Ocean more than 2,000 miles west of mainland Chile, and is famous for its iconic, gigantic stone statues, known by the local Rapa Nui community as moai.
The island is also recognized by some as a cautionary tale in environmental collapse. Some scholars, including author Jared Diamond, believe the island’s forests and soil became so depleted that the island’s ancient society collapsed in a struggle over diminishing natural resources.
Today Oceana and our allies in the area are working to prevent history from repeating itself, this time in the waters surrounding the island. Oceana has been working to expand the Motu Motiro Hiva marine reserve around Salas y Gómez Island, next to Easter Island. In addition, the campaign has been working to create a smaller marine reserve in Hanga Roa Bay off Easter Island, and has proposed the closure of all of its waters to industrial fishing. These new measures would protect the area’s fisheries and marine resources, which have been depleted in recent decades.