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Oceana Magazine: Winter 2011

Saving Punta de Choros

By Suzannah Evans

The Choros-Damas and Isla Chañaral marine reserves, located near Punta de Choros on the northern coast of  Chile, are characterized by a rocky shore that is a nesting habitat for 80 percent of the world’s endangered Humboldt penguins. The reserves are also home to blue whales, dolphins and an enormous population of Chilean abalone, one of the country’s most important seafood species.

This is one of Chile’s best places for watching marine wildlife – tranquil, beautiful and abundant. But it became the center of a very human drama late this summer, when thousands of Chileans banded together in multiple cities to protest the construction of a 540 megawatt coal-fired power plant near the marine reserves.