Expedition Tours

26 January 2022

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ECUADOR: where the conservation of nature is a practical reality

 

 

In the past years, the scientific importance of the Galapagos Islands has become even clearer. Home to iguanas, giant tortoises, sea lions, blue-footed boobies, flightless cormorants, etc.. and the place wherein 1835, Charles Darwin developed the theory of evolution. In 1998 a Marine Reserve was put in place to protect the waters around the islands.

 

 

Now, the President of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso signed a historic Executive Decree on January 14th, 2022 to expand the actual protected marine areas of the Galapagos Islands by 60.000 square kilometers (23,166 square miles). This announcement follows an agreement made at the UN summit in Glasgow between the presidents of Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Panama, signaling their commitment to the protection of the environment.

 

This new marine reserve called RESERVA MARINA HERMANDAD increases the area of protection of the more than 2,900 marine species living in the Galapagos to nearly 200.000 sq. km (77,220 sq miles).

 

This expansion establishes an immense marine corridor of 60.000 sq. km (23,166 sq. miles) linking Ecuadorian waters with Panama`s Coiba islands, Colombia`s Malpelo, and Coco island in Costa Rica. The new marine corridor significantly enhances the protection of threatened migratory wildlife such as humpback whales, sea turtles, giant manta rays, hammerhead sharks, and whale sharks, the world`s largest fish. The significance of the new reserve comes from an undersea mountain range that links the Galapagos Islands with the waters of Costa Rica and Panama. The underwater mountains divert the currents and the nutrients they carry surface, being key to marine life.

 

The Marine Reserve Hermandad will be divided into two equal areas: one where fishing will be forbidden and the other where only fishing without long lines, a method that puts in danger turtles and dolphins will be allowed.

 

The marine reserve will be patrolled by the boats of the Galapagos national park with a member of the Ecuadorian navy onboard. Countries like Germany have already pledged aid to this endeavor. The four presidents have also been working with Chile and Peru to safeguard the waters and further expand the protected area, especially from industrial fishing fleets.

 

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