More Than 11 Million Hectares of Oceanic Area Placed Under No-Take Regime
BRASÍLIA, Brazil, March 20, 2018 - A two-year campaign which united civil society organizations, researchers, and industry leaders, resulted in a landmark achievement as the President of Brazil, Michel Temer, published two decrees establishing the Marine Protected Areas of São Pedro & São Paulo and Trindade & Martim Vaz archipelagos, bringing the country´s MPA coverage to approximately 25% of its jurisdictional waters.
No-take zones will cover 11,691,798 hectares (28,891,062 acres or 45,142 square miles), encompassing part of the islands, seamounts and relevant features of the seabed, while the entire EEZ around the archipelagos will become multiple-use reserves, an additional 80,942,945 hectares (200,014,373 acres or 312,522 square miles) placed under sustainable use regimes. The areas will be jointly managed by the National Biodiversity Institute and the Navy, which should develop management plans in the next 180 days.
According to José Palazzo, Public Policy Development Officer for the Brazilian Humpback Whale Institute, one of the leading NGOs campaigning for the establishment of these new MPAs, "It is an historic moment for Brazil as we jump from a mere 1.5% of protected marine and coastal environments to almost a quarter of our seas, ensuring protection for key pelagic environments which are essential for countless species, from sharks to beaked whales to endemic reef fish."
The new MPAs, announced earlier this month by President Temer at the World Ocean Summit after a meeting with dr. Sylvia Earle from Mission Blue, members of the Pew Bertarelli Global Ocean Legacy Program and Brazilian NGO representatives, will also provide opportunities for high-quality liveaboard diving, whale watching, and international cooperation for marine research.
"Our work is far from complete", adds Palazzo. "We still need to expand the National Marine Park of Abrolhos to safeguard the largest coral bank in the South Atlantic and create many more coastal sanctuaries. But it all begins with the political will to establish it and this we have achieved."