Chile Protects Pacific Gem: Only 2 Percent of Global Ocean Protected
“More than two-thirds of our planet is ocean, yet we have protected five times more land. It’s time to give our oceans a break.”
Chilean President Sebastián Piñera announced the creation of a 150,000 square kilometer no-take marine reserve around Sala y Gómez Island in the Pacific Ocean. This decision protects an area of biodiverse marine habitat larger than Montana, and most of it has never been explored.
Sala y Gómez is an uninhabited island off Chile’s coast that Dr. Enric Sala, marine ecologist and National Geographic Ocean Fellow, called “one of the last undisturbed and relatively pristine places left in the ocean.”…
Chile has a vast coastline, yet before this decision, only .03 percent of its marine resources were protected. In one day, that percentage leapt to 4.41 percent. Less than 2 percent of the global ocean is protected, although the Parties of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity — including Chile — agreed to protect 10 percent of their exclusive economic zones by 2012. Meanwhile, 10 percent of the world’s land mass is already protected.
That math doesn’t add up — more than two-thirds of our planet is ocean, yet we have protected five times more land. It’s time to give our oceans a break.