This week is the 4th International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC4) in La Serena – Coquimbo, Chile, and our team’s there connecting with colleagues and sharing some of our major initiatives to help protect the ocean, MPAtlas.org and the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES). Our friends at OpenChannels are providing amazing live-blog coverage from the conference and here are some key highlights so far:
- Chile announced three new marine protected areas (MPAs): El Archipiélago de de Juan Fernandez (480,000km2); Cabo de Hornos (147,000km2), and Rapa Nui (700,000km2). Rapa Nui surrounds the famous Easter Island and received strong support from the Island’s native inhabitants in a recent poll. Combined, Chile’s MPAs now cover a greater area than the country itself!
- A panel discussion featuring renowned ocean conservationist and Mission Blue founder Dr. Sylvia Earle reiterated the importance of MPAs as the best hope for managing areas and minimizing outside interference. Protecting the ocean is crucial because, as Dr. Earle puts it, “The most important thing we extract from the ocean is our existence.”
- While the latest global figures from UNEP-WCMC are still to come, MPAs (at least globally) are on a trajectory to meet the 10% Aichi 11 Target by 2020. Terrestrial protected areas, however, seem sure to fall short of their 17% Aichi 11 Target.
- A panel discussion Wednesday morning featuring leaders such as John Armor, Poki Tane Haoa, Kalani Quiocho, and Felipe Paredes focused on the importance of connecting communities to MPAs. The communities surrounding MPAs often have deep emotional and cultural connections to the ocean and can help drive more successful management of these reserves.
- We awarded the world’s first Global Ocean Refuges! It was our honor to recognize Papahānaumokuākea National Marine Monument, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, and Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary incredible conservation achievements with GLORES Platinum awards.
Be sure to follow Marine Conservation Institute on Twitter @savingoceans for all the latest news from IMPAC4 and more!