Expeditions | Oceana

Juan Fernández

Chile’s Juan Fernández Archipelago

Oceana is working to study and protect the Juan Fernández Archipelago from destructive fishing with the help of local communities.


In January 2009, Oceana made its first expedition to Chile’s Juan Fernández Archipelago, which is most known for having been the home to the sailor Alexander Selkirk for four years, which may have inspired the novel Robinson Crusoe. Oceana’s ultimate goal is to ban bottom trawling in the region’s vulnerable marine ecosystems. Oceana also returned to the Juan Fernández islands again in 2013 to document marine life.

The expedition crew recorded underwater videos and photographs of the area’s exceptional biodiversity. Additionally, they established contacts with the local communities and authorities on Robinson Crusoe Island. Oceana’s initiative to close the seamounts that surround the island to industrial bottom trawling was supported by the local communities.

The fishermen of Juan Fernández have witnessed the decline of their fishing stocks and destruction by the trawling fleet that operates at only five miles offshore. In February 2009, Oceana made a second trip to continue the conversations with the communities and to invite them to join the initiative to protect this important area.

Oceana is leading the charge to preserve the Juan Fernández Islands before it’s too late. We’re working with the local community to establish a marine reserve surrounding Juan Fernández that extends well beyond the island’s limited Exclusive Economic Zone – essentially banning all destructive fishing practices and creating a no-take area. And we’ve already seen sweeping victories: The Chilean Congress banned bottom trawling from all of Chile’s 118 seamounts in a historic 2012 vote after years of campaigning.

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