Peru’s largest marine reserve was born out of concern from environmentalists

03 June 2021 – 00:15
EFE

Lima, Jun 2 (EFE) – The Nasca Dorsal National Reserve, the largest marine protected area in Peru, was born this Wednesday with controversy; this controversy is due to the opposition of environmental organizations that are unhappy that industrial fishing is allowed within its perimeter.

The reserve will cover an area of ​​almost 62,400 square kilometers of the Pacific Ocean, equivalent to 8% of the territorial waters of Peru, explained Gabriel Quijandría, the Minister of the Environment of Peru, in a press conference.

This reserve, located 105 kilometers from the coast, will also be the first reserve that is entirely marine in Peru; its purpose is to protect an underwater mountain range that extends from 1,800 to 4,000 meters deep.

In this area there are “some special and important characteristics related to the conservation of biodiversity and certain ecological processes that occur in that area,” Quijandría said.

The minister pointed out that “there is a forecast to continue producing some economic activities that previously took place in this area, at depths up to 1,000 meters, with an emphasis on artisanal fishing.”

It will also be “an important space for deep marine research,” thanks to the capacity of the Peruvian Sea Institute (Imparpe) and the oceanographic research vessel Carrasco, of the Peruvian Navy.

In the territory of the reserve, 32 marine species of commercial importance have been identified, such as squid (giant squid), perico, bonito, horse mackerel, blue shark, swordfish, yellowfin tuna and mackerel, among others.

In addition, the surface area of ​​the Nasca Ridge is a transit zone for migratory species, such as the Salvín albatross and the loggerhead turtle.

CONTRADICTORY FOR ENVIRONMENTALISTS

However, for the environmental organization Oceana, it is a contradiction to create a marine reserve where industrial and cod fishing is allowed within it; in Oceana’s opinion, this violates the Law of Protected Natural Areas and its respective regulations.

Oceana expresses “deep concern” since it considers that these type of “licenses” are unthinkable in Chile or Ecuador, countries that each protect 42% and 13.5%, respectively, of their territorial seas.

The organization explained that 83% of foreign tuna vessels that fish in the Nasca Ridge are Ecuadorian and are prohibited from fishing in their own national protected areas, such as the Galapagos Islands.

“For me, it creates a disastrous precedent, an attack on the general system of protected areas because it could allow industrial activities in other national reserves in the country,” explains César Ipensa, a lawyer specializing in environmental law.

“If we are going to allow industrial fishing to exist in strict conservation zones, then, in practice, what the government would be creating are protected areas on paper alone that do not really protect our biodiversity,” added Ipenza.

AN “EVIL PRECEDENT”

Likewise, Carmen Heck, the director of policies of the organization Oceana and a specialist in fishing and environmental law, also believes that the creation of the Nasca Dorsal National Reserve in this way creates a bad precedent.

“The provisional zoning established by the supreme decree creating the reserve is not provisional at all; it will clearly be permanent,” Heck said.

The process of creating this reserve has taken more than two years, led by a multidisciplinary working group headed by the Ministry of the Environment and the National Service of Natural Areas Protected by the State (Sernanp).

Additionally, a broad process of citizen participation was carried out with artisanal fishermen’s unions from the south, center, and north of the country, industrial-scale fishing associations, regional governments, civil society organizations, and academia. EFE

Read the original coverage from EFE via Diario Libre at https://www.diariolibre.com/actualidad/internacional/la-mayor-reserva-marina-de-peru-nace-con-preocupacion-de-ambientalistas-KH26653449


Informing and sharing news on marine life, flora, fauna and conservation in the Galápagos Islands since 2017
© SOS Galápagos, 2021

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