By: Amir Dawood
The world of ocean conservation is still in shock today after they were sent reeling by some truly incredible news. The fight to protect the world’s seas and oceans is a slow and steady one, full of minor victories and large defeats. But recent news from Chile and the small island state of Niue have buoyed the environmental community.
Niue is only a tiny little island in the South Pacific, with a population of approximately 1,600 people. Yet it’s decided to turn a full 40% of what’s known as its ‘exclusive economic zone’ into a marine park. While the South American country of Chile has decided to add two brand new marine parks off its coasts. Parks that have strict rules and law about fishing. In other words, fishing is totally banned.
In total, the three new marine parks account for some 290,000 square miles of ocean. An incredible amount. To put that into some kind of size perspective, that’s double the size of Germany.
The Director of the Niue Ocean Wide (NOW) project, which is a public/private sustainability initiative in Niue is a man called Brendon Pasisi. He says this about the amazing work of the small island nation: “It is no small feat for a small-island developing state to make such a tremendous and tangible contribution to ocean conservation.”
University of Hawaii biologist Alan Friedlander is the chief scientist for Pristine Seas. Here are his thoughts on it all:
“We found some of the highest densities of reef sharks anywhere on Earth. Shark populations have declined by more than 90 percent globally, so this new MPA (marine protected area) is an important spot for these highly threatened species. We were amazed by what we found at Beveridge Reef — there were more sharks recorded by my BRUVS underwater video system at Beveridge Reef than had been recorded anywhere in the world to date.”