The marine ecosys­tem is home to 142 species found nowhere else

Boating NZ - - Boat World -

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.

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