EASTER ISLAND’S MARINE PARK
The marine ecosystem is home to 142 species found nowhere else
Chile’s Easter Island is famous for its Moai ‘head’ statues, but is bound to become even more renowned following the recent establishment of one of the world’s largest marine protection areas (MPA) off its coast.
The new 740,000km2 Rapa Nui MPA is 4,000km from the Chile mainland, and is about the same size as the country itself. The area’s unique marine ecosystem is home to 142 species found nowhere else, 27 of which are threatened or endangered. It is also a spawning and breeding ground for many ocean predators, including tuna, marlin, swordfish and sharks.
The designation protects these thriving marine ecosystems from industrial commercial fishing, mining, and other large-scale extractive activities within Easter Island’s waters but allows the artisanal fishing practices of the Rapa Nui – fishing from small open boats using hand lines and rocks as weights.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature has called for 30 percent of the world’s oceans to be protected, but only about 1.6 percent has so far been covered by marine protection areas.