Ecuador expands marine protected area around the Galapagos Islands

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THE Ecuador on Friday created a new marine reserve around its pristine Galapagos Islands, whose rich biodiversity inspired Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, as it seeks to expand protections for endangered migratory species from extinction.

Expanding the reserve by 60,000 square kilometers is the first step of a plan agreed by Ecuador with its close neighbors Colombia, Costa Rica and Panama at the UN Climate Summit (COP 26) in Glasgow last year.

The aim is to create a common corridor through which species threatened by climate changes it’s at fishing industry can migrate.

The current Galápagos marine reserve, one of the largest in the world, measures about 138,000 square kilometers, and the new conservation area will have 198,000 square kilometers protected.

“Today we are declaring a marine reserve with an area of ​​60,000 square kilometers, equivalent to an area three times the size of Belize,” said the Ecuadorian president, William Lasso, after signing the new reservation aboard the research vessel Sierra Negra docked in Puerto Ayora, on Santa Cruz Island, the tourist center of the Galapagos.

During the Climate Summit of HIM-HER-IT, Lasso said he expects the reserve expansion plan to obtain funding through a conservation debt swap. However, on Friday, Lasso did not reveal any funding details.

Environmentalists say the reserve will help protect at least five critically endangered species – including hammerhead sharks, whale sharks, turtles and other species that migrate between the Galapagos and Cocos Island in Costa Rica.

Reference: CNN Brasil

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