Animals around Galapagos better protected by Hermandad nature reserve

Sharks in green coloured water with rocks around it
Blacktip sharks swim off Santa Cruz Island, one of the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, January 16, 2022, photo: Reuters/Santiago Arcos

Ecuador has created a new marine reserve called Hermandad (Brotherhood), located north of its Galapagos islands. The new reserve forms a Pacific corridor up to Costa Rica’s Cocos Island National Park to preserve migratory animals, such as sharks.

“Today, we are declaring a marine reserve in an area of 60,000 square kilometres or what is equivalent to an area three times the size of Belize,” Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso said Friday on board of a scientific vessel from the Galapagos National Park (PNG).

The Galapagos marine reserve, a Natural World Heritage Site where industrial fishing is forbidden, is home to more than 2,900 marine species.

The creation of the Hermandad nature reserve is a “clear message for the world,” said Lasso, who described it as a “new relationship with the Earth.” Colombia and Panama will also join to create an international marine biosphere reserve, where commercial fishing is prohibited.

“Protecting these areas is not only guaranteeing that these areas are not exploited, but it is also guaranteeing the survival of more than 40% of marine species throughout the world,” Colombian President Ivan Duque said.

Duque said that adding Colombia’s Malpelo islands and Panama’s Coiba islands to the marine reserve will allow for the migration of animals such as sea turtles, whales, sharks and manta rays.

“We may be a small territory, our environmental footprint may be minuscule compared to that of more prosperous countries, but the planet is also ours, and today, faced with the challenge of protecting it, we are enlarging ourselves,” Lasso said.

He added that “the seas are great regulators of the global climate,” and taking care of them is “a vital necessity.”

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