Chile’s marine conservation efforts on show and more protection needed - WWF | WWF

Chile’s marine conservation efforts on show and more protection needed - WWF

Posted on
28 October 2010
WWF calls on Chile’s newly established Ministry of Environment to advance fast on establishing new marine protected areas (MPAs) in the country’s waters to secure vital protection for valuable and threatened marine life, including the endangered blue whale.

Achievements, challenges and the route ahead for MPAs in Chile were discussed today at an event sponsored by WWF at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meeting underway in Japan, and attended by Mr. Ricardo Irarrazabal, Undersecretary for the Environment, and Mr. Miguel Stutzin, Natural Resources and Biodiversity Division with Chile’s Ministry of Environment.

At the event, recognition was given to three MPAs established with GEF funding along Chile’s coastline over the past five years, as well as the recenlty established no-take MPA near Salas y Gomez Island ( Motu Motiro Hiva in Rapu Nui language) covering 150,000 square kilometres.

WWF urges the government to now move forward fast on establishing more MPAs in southern Chile, notably the Corcovado Gulf frequented by blue whales.

“WWF, along with local and partners, have provided the government with the results of a 800-pages landmark report, including consultation with relevant stakeholders, indigenous and small-scale fishermen communities among them, concerning the establishment of new MPAs in the south,” said Mauricio Gálvez, WWF Chile’s Marine Conservation Program Coordinator. “It’s now time for governments to proactively act on this information and move quickly to set up the much needed new MPAs.”

The Ministry of Environment, the Universidad Austral de Chile, the Blue Whale Centre and WWF-Chile, as well as other local and international NGOs have undertaken extensive research efforts over the last two years to create a marine conservation plan and identify a portfolio of potential areas for MPAs in the Chiloense Ecoregion, which stretches from Puerto Montt to Taitao Peninsula.

The research identified 40 sites needing protection, including areas important endangered blue whales, fragile coldwater corals and important fish populations.

“The implementation of the recommendations and results arising from this work would show the government’s commitment to meet goals for protecting unique marine ecosystems – particularly those in Southern Chile that are under significant pressure.” added Gálvez.

“The scientific justification for creating MPAs in this area is clear and has been scrutinized by multiple stakeholders. The only thing needed now is the political will to create the proposed MPAs, and we hope that CBD is the moment for Chile’s new presidential administration to express its willingness to the world.”

The largest animal on the planet, the blue whale is listed as a threatened species.
© WWF / Pieter Lagendyk