Finance fishing boats

Ecuador expands Galapagos Protected Marine Reserve

Travel sites in the Galapagos Islands and several countries in Central and South America will expand significantly in 2022 after the creation last week of “Hermandad”, a 45% extension of the Galapagos Marine Protected Reserve. Galapagos Archipelago of 74,517 square miles from the previous 51,351 square miles.

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso signed a decree with representatives of Colombia, Costa Rica and Panama on January 14, establishing the expanded marine reserve, which stretches northeast from the Galapagos across the three countries, forming a “ocean highway”.

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“Today we declare a marine reserve covering 60,000 square kilometers, equivalent to an area three times the size of Belize,” Lasso said in international news reports. In a statement announcing the launch of the new reserve, Lasso said the territory will be divided into two equal zones, one in which commercial fishing will be prohibited and another where fishing without “longlines” will be allowed.

Lasso said Ecuador will seek to establish a trust to fund the preservation of Hermandad areas and invest in new preservation infrastructure and technology for the islands.

The Hermandad Corridor stretches through Costa Rica’s Cocos Islands, reflecting a migratory route for millions of sea turtles, whales, sharks and rays, Ecuadorian government officials said. The wider region is about two and a half times the size of the state of Maryland.

The new route connects two UNESCO World Heritage marine sites, the Galapagos and Cocos Islands. Ecuador, Colombia, Panama and Costa Rica last year Okay to work together to create an Eastern Tropical Pacific Marine Corridor between their countries.

The expanded protected area will provide many new opportunities for snorkeling or scuba diving excursions and coastal exploration in kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and glass-bottom boats.