A massive 500,000sq km marine reserve is going to be created in the Pacific Ocean which will provide a protected ‘superhighway’ for leatherback turtles, hammerhead sharks and other endangered marine life.
The Eastern Tropical Marine Corridor (CMAR) is a collaborative conservation effort between four Latin American countries: Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador. This was revealed at COP26 earlier this month and will hopefully see a combined effort and increase the size of the protected national waters, if carried out it will create a 500,000sq km sanctuary for sea life that has been the subject of overfishing.
Galapagos Conservancy is a non-profit environmental organisation, said this is “a historic moment for Galapagos and a major victory for global marine conservation”.
There are two halves to the expanded Galapagos reserve, one will prohibit all fishing, the other will only permit longline fishing. We understand that all fishing fleets will be banned from the rest of the CMAR but the biggest challenge will be enforcing these new rules.
At a press conference, Ecuadorian president Guillermo Lasso said: “The proposal that I’m bringing here is a result of five months of negotiations with… the fishing industry and other sectors. We made them understand the importance of this marine reserve.”
We believe Lasso is still to sign the decree for the establishment of the reserve but is said to do so imminently. The timeline for the creation of the expanded zone is also yet to be released.
The CMAR includes a region of water that is a hot spot for industrial fishing fleets, including shark-finning vessels mainly from China. The Galapagos Conservancy said if this new region is competed and properly policed then it could help the sharks “begin to rebound”.
“Although conservation work is never done, today we can celebrate a major victory for Galapagos and for our planet,” the organisation added.