Chile wants to protect a part of high seas ahead of global treaty, as President Sebastián Piñera proposed the creation of a marine protected area in the Eastern Pacific.
More specifically, Chile has proposed the creation of a high seas MPA on the Salas and Gomez and Nazca ridges.
According to Mr. Piñera, it is not enough to protect only national waters, especially considering the global call to protect 30% of the ocean by 2030.
Currently, less than 1% of the high seas are protected by MPAs, most of which are within the nearly 2 million square kilometres Ross Sea area in the Antarctic.
Waldemar Coutts, director of Environment and Oceans at Chile’s Foreign Ministry, stated on the occassion:
While the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization will be engaged in the process, the new UN high seas treaty, currently under negotiation, is meant to [include an] international body which will oversee the long-term management of the MPA
Furthermore, ocean experts under the Coral Reefs of the High Seas Coalition have been urging for an MPA on the Salas and Gomez and Nazca ridges. The area has over 110 seamounts with unique ecosystems, while half the species there live nowhere else.
The area has also been identified as a prime candidate for conservation by numerous international organisations. In fact, research by PEW last year highlighted 10 sites around the world that would help safeguard biodiversity beyond national waters, with the Salas and Gomez and the Nazca ridges being one of them.
If created, the area would connect with existing MPAs on Chile’s EEZ to the east (Nazca-Desventuradas) and to the west (Rapa Nui).
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