Chilean President Michelle Bachelet has announced the creation of two marine conservation parks in the Pacific Ocean around Easter Island and the Juan Fernandez archipelago which includes Robinson Crusoe Island and Selkirk Island. Together, the two marine reserves will cover around a million square kilometres.
Commercial fishing will be banned in these waters allowing depleted fish stocks to recover. The new reserve around Easter Island will cover over 600,000 sq km (240,000 sq miles) and will be the third-largest fully protected marine area in the world, safeguarding the biodiversity of the island’s waters which are home to some 142 endemic species and an important spawning ground for tuna, sharks, marlins and swordfish. The Juan Fernandez Marine Reserve extends some 300,000 sq km (115,000 sq miles) and will protect endemic species such as fur seals and Chilean sandpiper fish.
The announcement was made on Monday at the One Ocean international marine protection conference in Valparaiso, Chile.