Ecuador has announced that it will expand the protected marine reserve surrounding the Galapagos Islands, “the jewel of our biodiversity and a true living laboratory”.
In a move long sought after by local activists, Guillermo Lasso Mendoza, President of Ecuador, said the country would add an additional 60,000 km2 of protected ocean to the 130,000 km2 that already exist around the islands.
He noted that the Galapagos, famous for their crucial role in helping Charles Darwin develop the theory of natural selection, âface serious threats from global warming, plastic waste and other imbalances that compromise our biodiversity. , our food security and our economy and social development “.
He added that the deal was reached through “consensus among all sectors involved – fishing, tourism, conservation and others.”
The Guardian has extensively explained how the “distant fleet” fishing vessels, mainly from China, have decimated critical fish stocks, including squid, right on the edge of what is now the Galapagos Marine Reserve.
The new extension “will not only strengthen the protection of the region’s biodiversity, but it will also strengthen our fight against climate change,” said Lasso. The move is expected to help fulfill Ecuador’s part of the UK-led 30 by 30 deal, which pledges to protect at least 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030.
In a note that may worry activists, Lasso also noted that the deal would help achieve “productivity growth for artisanal and industrial fisheries.”
The presidents of four Latin American countries, including Ecuador, are expected to announce today the merger of their marine protected areas into a âmega-MPAâ.