A Net­work of Marine Pro­tected Ar­eas in Patag­o­nia

Una Red de Áreas Mari­nas Prote­gi­das en la Patag­o­nia

Patagon Journal - - CONTENTS - By Bár­bara Saave­dra

The Patag­o­nian sea, one of the most pris­tine and eco­log­i­cally valu­able fjord ecosys­tems on the planet, is not with­out threats. Its mar­velous green-blue land­scape abruptly meets coasts, moun­tains, and south­ern forests and is home to thou­sands of species, all of them fac­ing per­ils as­so­ci­ated with in­va­sive species and un­sus­tain­able ac­tiv­i­ties.

The good news is that now there is an un­prece­dented op­por­tu­nity to con­serve and sus­tain­ably uti­lize th­ese land­scapes and re­sources for the sus­te­nance and well­be­ing of many. This is pos­si­ble through the creation of a net­work of Marine Pro­tected Ar­eas (MPA) of Patag­o­nia, which is be­ing de­vel­oped with a strate­gic longterm vi­sion and an em­pha­sis on ef­fec­tive con­ser­va­tion man­age­ment. It is part of an in­clu­sive, col­lab­o­ra­tive, and par­tic­i­pa­tory process led by the Min­istry of the En­vi­ron­ment in which di­verse stake­hold­ers from the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors par­tic­i­pate, and the area’s creation is based on the best avail­able science, the in­te­gra­tion of sus­tain­able man­age­ment tools, and on ca­pac­ity de­vel­op­ment.

The Chilean gov­ern­ment com­mit­ted to pro­tect­ing 10% of its most im­por­tant marine ecosys­tems as a par­tic­i­pat­ing na­tion in the Con­ven­tion on Bi­o­log­i­cal Di­ver­sity (CBD). As a re­sult, there have been large pro­tected marine ar­eas cre­ated over the last decade, pri­mar­ily around oceanic is­lands. But the low rep­re­sen­ta­tion of other marine ecosys­tems, to­gether with a lack of ef­fec­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion, is still prob­lem­atic. For ex­am­ple, in the

Ma­gal­lanes re­gion more than 50% of land area is pro­tected, but less than 1% of its coast has for­mal pro­tec­tion.

Hav­ing hosted and led the in­ter­na­tional Our Ocean con­fer­ence in 2015, and pre­par­ing again to re­ceive hun­dreds of marine con­ser­va­tion ex­perts from all over the world at IMPAC 4, Chile is po­si­tioned as a sig­nif­i­cant ac­tor on th­ese is­sues at the global level. It’s a good time to deepen and fur­ther ef­fec­tive con­ser­va­tion ef­forts in the spec­tac­u­lar coastal and marine ar­eas of our coun­try, es­pe­cially along Patag­o­nia’s coasts.

How? Through the use of Open Stan­dards for the Prac­tice of Con­ser­va­tion (OS), an in­te­grated ap­proach to man­age­ment of con­ser­va­tion that, be­yond the ad­min­is­tra­tive, al­lows to make a strate­gic de­sign, sci­en­tif­i­cally based and ver­i­fi­able in the man­age­ment of con­ser­va­tion in situ. In­ter­na­tion­ally val­i­dated, this ap­proach cre­ated and pro­moted by Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion So­ci­ety (WCS) with other or­ga­ni­za­tions, is the stan­dard that the Chilean state is adopt­ing for its pro­tected ar­eas.

We hope to put to the test, in the great nat­u­ral lab­o­ra­tory that is the south­ern­most ocean, a de­sign for the creation of a marine pro­tec­tion area net­work that is sus­tained through col­lab­o­ra­tive work and qual­ity science, the creation of tech­ni­cal ca­pac­i­ties, and the de­vel­op­ment of fi­nan­cial, ad­min­is­tra­tive, and reg­u­la­tory in­stru­ments, to make con­ser­va­tion a re­al­ity in the south­ern seas, from Chiloé to Cape Horn.

Specif­i­cally, with the sup­port from the Ma­gal­lanes re­gional gov­ern­ment and af­ter more than a decade of ded­i­cated work re­search­ing and ed­u­cat­ing about con­ser­va­tion in Tierra del Fuego, WCS Chile pro­poses the creation of a Mul­ti­ple Uses Ma- rine and Coastal Pro­tected Area (MUMPA) Seno Almi­ran­tazgo, a mag­nif­i­cent fjord that spans the coasts of De Agostini and Yen­de­gaia Na­tional park and also Karukinka Park in Tierra del Fuego. We are also work­ing on the de­sign of a man­age­ment plan for Fran­cisco Coloane Marine Park based on open stan­dards. We have the sup­port of the Waitt Foun­da­tion, OCEANS5 and Packard Foun­da­tion, for the de­sign and de­vel­op­ment of this net­work and the gen­er­a­tion of ca­pac­i­ties for the ef­fec­tive man­age­ment of pro­tected ar­eas and the sus­tain­able use of their re­sources.

We seek to pro­tect its species, habi­tats, ecosys­tems, and nat­u­ral and scenic con­di­tions as­so­ci­ated with cul­tural value, in­clud­ing the tra­di­tional and eco­nomic use of its re­sources, based on marine-ter­res­trial and pub­lic-pri­vate in­te­gra­tion that con­nects with the well­be­ing of the lo­cal com­mu­nity. In this way, we hope to help shape a net­work of marine pro­tected ar­eas and bio­di­ver­sity con­ser­va­tion ca­pac­ity that will carry th­ese coasts and their ben­e­fits into the 22nd cen­tury. The op­por­tu­ni­ties are there. Will we take ad­van­tage of them?

An ele­phant seal at Karukinka Park, a pri­vate con­ser­va­tion area in Tierra del Fuego. Un ele­fante marino en el Par­que Karukinka, un área de con­ser­vación pri­vada en Tierra del Fuego. JUSTIN HOFMAN/WCS


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