Two new marine protected areas for Argentina

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Photo: Lyra FilmsPhoto: Lyra Films 
By Cristóbal Pérez 
The Argentine Senate this week approved the establishment of the marine protected areas "Yaganes" and "Namuncurá-Banco Burdwood II” off their coast. With this, Argentina's marine protected areas (MPAs) now reaches 9.5% of the total marine area of the country and closes in on the 10% target set forth by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity by the year 2020.
"This is a great achievement for our country. About 36% of Argentine territory is sea and only 2.6% was protected until now Thanks to this new law, we are reaching the goals set by the national government and have won the political support of all who voted for this law,” said Martina Sasso, director of the marine program Conservation Land Trust Argentina (CLT), a group founded by Tompkins Conservation, in a press release.

MPAs are essential for conservation, as they restore fish stocks of commercial interest, and they protect species and habitats responsible for carbon fixation and storage in the sea, helping to combat climate change.
Photo: Beagle Secretos del MarPhoto: Beagle Secretos del Mar
Photo: Beagle Secretos del MarPhoto: Beagle Secretos del Mar

Black-browed albatross, penguins, sharks, stingrays, sea lions and elephant seals, cold water corals and many other vulnerable species will be protected by the creation of these areas. As well, the Yaganes area adjoins the recently created Cabo de Hornos Marine Park in Chile.

With the creation of this new Argentine MPA, all of the marine waters of both countries in the Drake passage will be protected under conservation-based management plans.
Photo: Lyra FilmsPhoto: Lyra Films
Moreover, the law will also facilitate “certificates of sustainability” for fishing concerns and thus give them access to more demanding markets that only purchase from suppliers who are engaging in sustainable fishing practices.

"I am so happy for this breakthrough that Argentina has achieved, protecting about 10% of its marine areas,” stated Kristine Tompkins, president of Tompkins Conservation. “This is a great milestone reached by President Macri, it shows that the treaties on the conservation of ecological systems are working. We hope to continue to work with the government and other non-governmental groups and foundations toward achieving effective conservation.”