Senate in Argentina passes law to make Banco Namuncurá (Burdwood) Country’s first oceanic marine protected area | WWF

Senate in Argentina passes law to make Banco Namuncurá (Burdwood) Country’s first oceanic marine protected area

Posted on 05 July 2013    
Southern right whale, Argentina.
© WWF / James Frankham
Following a people powered campaign for Earth Hour 2013, Argentina’s Senate has unanimously approved the creation of "Banco Namuncurá (Burdwood)", a 3.4 million hectare Marine Protected Area (MPA) that will more than triple the proportion of the Argentine Sea under protection. 

The campaign to make Banco Namuncurá (Burdwood) the biggest MPA in the country was a part of Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentina’s Earth Hour campaign for 2013, which mobilised thousands of participants to help champion the passing of the then pending Senate bill.

The MPA was already approved by the Chamber of Deputies in late 2012.

"Fundacion Vida Silvestre (WWF Associate in Argentina), along with Patagonia Natural, Wildlife Conservation Society and other organizations, were instrumental in getting this law passed by providing technical information on the area's importance to legislators," said Diego Moreno, CEO of Vida Silvestre. “This outcome is testament to their hard work and the support of thousands of Argentinians who gave their voice to protect the seas.”

Andy Ridley, CEO and Co-Founder of Earth Hour added, “The voice of people to ensure a sustainable future for our planet has proven an important element in delivering this 3.4 million hectare MPA. The decision today is a brilliant outcome for Argentina, and sets an example for other communities around the world to use their voice for change.”

Before the law was passed, only 1% of the coastal marine area of Argentina was protected. The creation of this new MPA increases the protection of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone to more than 4%.

Its approval is the first step in fulfilling international commitments made by the Argentine Government, which signed the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1992.

Banco Namuncurá (Burdwood) is an area of high biodiversity, located in a submarine plateau south of the Patagonian Sea, 150 km from Isla de los Estados (Staten Island).

Starfish, sea sponges and cold-waters corals are among the species particularly vulnerable to environmental changes in Banco Namuncurá (Burdwood’s) waters, which also provide feeding areas for albatrosses, petrels, penguins, sea lions and elephant seals seeking food. Whales and orcas are also found in the waters.

Fundacion Vida Silvestre Argentina works to support the creation of new marine and coastal protected areas, and identify areas valuable for conservation. Their Earth Hour 2013 campaign encouraged the participation of all pillars of society - from individuals, to governments, organizations and businesses - to improve the implementation of existing and future marine protected areas across the country.

Marine and Coastal Protected Areas are areas that have significant natural and cultural value and are guarded by law. They are tools for conservation and management of ocean biodiversity.
Southern right whale, Argentina.
© WWF / James Frankham Enlarge
© Vida Silvestre Argentina Enlarge

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