- The country reaches almost 10% of protected sea honoring its commitment for the year 2020.
- These areas will preserve species and benefit fishing activities by recovering stocks and improving captures surrounding the reserve.
December 12, 2018 — Buenos Aires, Argentina
Today Argentina approved by law the creation of two marine protected areas, “Yaganes” and “Namuncurá-Banco Burdwood II”, in the southernmost area of the Argentine sea, thus increasing to nearly 10% the country’s marine protected areas, honoring the nation’s commitment to the 2020 goal agreed on by the United Nation’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
The approval of this law is the result of a long participatory process carried on by experts from national ministries, scientific institutions and civic organizations, which started with the identification of areas of high conservation value and the analysis of the Argentine sea based on criteria defined by the CBD.
“This is a great moment for our country. About 36% of the Argentine territory is marine, of which only 2.6% was protected, until today. With this new law, we are reaching a goal established by the National Government and supported by the whole political spectrum that enacted this law,” declared Martina Sasso, coordinator of the Marine Program of Conservation Land Trust (CLT) Argentina, the organization founded by Tompkins Conservation.
These new areas harbor continental slope waters with cold-water coral reefs, an ecosystem that is considered globally vulnerable. These marine protected areas seek to preserve the whole ecosystem, which includes feeding and breeding zones of attractive commercial species, and migratory routes of large marine mammals. Additionally, Yaganes MPA borders the recently created Cabo de Hornos marine park in Chile. With the creation of this marine protected area in Argentina, the whole exclusive economic zones of both countries on the Drake Passage will be managed with a conservation focus.
Kristine Tompkins, president of Tompkins Conservation, expressed: “I am especially pleased to hear that Argentina has taken an enormous ecological leap forward and declared over 25 million acres of new marine parks in the southern Atlantic ocean. This brings the country to nearly 10% protection of its total marine systems, making an historic move on the part of President Macri’s government and showing that treaties to conserve and preserve ecological systems are working. As a representative of the United Nations for Global Protected Areas I am especially pleased that Tompkins Conservation could play a role in establishing these parks, along many other groups and individuals. TC looks forward to working together with the Argentine Government and other NGOs and foundations toward new, high level conservation.”
Economic and conservation benefits
Marine protected areas contribute to fishing activities in the long term, by allowing the recovery of stocks and improving captures surrounding the reserve. These areas help fisheries apply for and obtain sustainability certifications, enabling them to reach high-standards markets and thus get higher profitability.
MPAs are also an essential tool for conservation: they restore populations of species of commercial interest, protect marine biodiversity and critical habitats, and favor climate change by protecting marine species that play a significant role on carbon storage. Additionally, MPAs encourage scientific research and education, and protect sites of cultural and archeological interest.
About Tompkins Conservation and CLT
Tompkins Conservation was founded by Kristine and Douglas (1943–2015) Tompkins, business leaders from iconic American clothing brands including The North Face, Esprit, and Patagonia, Inc., who changed the course of their lives more than 25 years ago to devote their funds, time, and passion to help protect wild nature in Chile and Argentina. Tompkins Conservation has been working on the creation of national parks in Argentina since 1997 through CLT, totalling about half a million hectares of protected land along the country. To meet this end, the foundation acquires and restores private lands, reintroducing their missing native species and working with local communities so that they can benefit from the transformation of their regional economies once the acquired lands become public. Finally, they donate the land to the national government in order to ensure its preservation by law within the maximum protection category. CLT’s mission is to promote a next economy through conservation and rewilding, to benefit the human and nonhuman world. The projects in Argentina are Iberá National Park, El Impenetrable National Park, Patagonia Park, and Marine Protected Areas Yaganes and Namuncurá – Banco Burdwood II. CLT’s marine conservation program supports the national government on the compliance of its commitments to protect 10% of its marine systems, working along provincial governments to protect coastal areas of high priority on the blue corridor and the bioceanic peace park.
Pía Moya L.