Ecuador expands protected space round Galapagos Islands

Ecuador expands protected area around Galapagos Islands

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso introduced Friday that his authorities will broaden protected waters off the Galapagos Islands to incorporate a migratory hall for sharks, turtles, fish and marine mammals.

The presidential decree will create greater than 23,000 sq. miles of newly protected ocean round one of many planet’s most biodiverse marine ecosystems — a spot the place penguins and tropical fish swim with sea turtles and sea lions, as migrating hammerheads and tuna maneuver via the chilly waters to mate, spawn and feed. The protections will lengthen to Costa Rica’s southern maritime border.

The brand new reserve will “shield the submarine mountains” that reach northeast of the Galapagos Archipelago towards Costa Rica’s Cocos Islands, and preserve fishing and long-lining out of an space that animals use as a “subway” to traverse this environmentally wealthy space, stated Gustavo Manrique, Ecuador’s atmosphere minister.

The brand new space will broaden the 51,352-square-mile Galapagos Marine Reserve by practically 50 p.c, and bolster a sequence of reserves that South American nations resembling Value Rica and Panama have constructed alongside the Pacific coast.

“It’s outstanding and unimaginable how these nations have come collectively to construct this marine community,” stated Matt Rand, senior director of marine habitat safety for the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Forming these protected areas has been a spotlight of Ecuador’s new president, who was elected final yr.

Ecuador has one of many largest Pacific fishing fleets in South America, and is the biggest tuna producer within the Western Hemisphere, accounting for roughly 4% of the world’s complete tuna catch.

“This decree is an unimaginable precedent,” stated Norman Wray, the previous president of the Authorities Council of the Galapagos, noting that the fishing business labored with the federal government to create the reserves. It additionally “helps to scale back fishing strain over the Marine Reserve of the Galapagos.”

In the course of the summer season of 2020, greater than 300 Chinese language fishing vessels — together with processing ships, tankers and industrial-sized boats designed to carry 1,000 tons of catch — have been noticed fishing alongside the border of the marine reserve.

The reserve has turn into a shelter and nursery for all kinds of sea life. It’s a place the place fish, sharks and rays are protected against over- and incidental fishing, high-volume delivery visitors, and air pollution. In consequence, it’s also a spot the place the fishing is nice — and boats line up across the perimeter hoping to catch that bounty as animals migrate out.

“That’s the way it ought to be,” stated Rand of the Pew Charitable Trusts. “A wholesome ecosystem goes to supply fish. It’s good for biodiversity and it’s good for a sustainable fishing fleet.”

What do you think?

Written by LessDaily.Com


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