Salas y Gomez Island: Overview
Salas y Gómez is a small, uninhabited Chilean island 250 miles east of Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean.
Salas y Gómez is part of a biodiverse chain of seamounts that are vulnerable to fishing activity. Dr. Enric Sala, marine ecologist and National Geographic Ocean Fellow, called Sala y Gómez “one of the last undisturbed and relatively pristine places left in the ocean.”
In October 2010, after a preliminary expedition to the island by Oceana and National Geographic, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera announced the creation of Salas y Gómez Marine Park, a no-take marine reserve of 150,000 square kilometers around Salas y Gómez island.
The new park expands Chile’s total marine protected area more than 100 times, from 0.03% to 4.41%. Currently less than 2% of the global ocean is protected, although the Parties of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity – including Chile – agreed to protect 10% of their exclusive economic zones by 2012.