Brazil announces history making Marine Protected Areas
Following on from a united two-year campaign, including support from the WCA and our Partners, specifically Instituto Baleia Jubarte (The Humpback Whale Institute), Brazil has announced a historic move to protect more than 350,000 square miles of ocean!
The WCA, civil society organisations, researchers, industry leaders, nationally and internationally, joined together to apply pressure to the Brazillian government to commit to the long term sustainability of our oceans. The WCA wrote directly to Brazillian President Michel Terner, to show strong support when the Marine Protected Area (MPA) was announced (see a copy of the letter to the President below).
The MPA will cover a no-take zone of over 45,000 square miles, which will allow bio-diversity to flourish and ecosystems to recover from fishing and resource extraction. A further 313,000 square miles of ocean are to be placed under sustainable management plans. José Palazzo, of Instituto Baleia Jubarte, said “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”.
Along with the benefits for the ocean and its inhabitants, it is envisaged the MPA will bring economic benefits of increased tourism through wildlife watching and scuba diving, and increased opportunity for collaborative scientific research.
To: Mr. Michel Temer, President of Brazil
CC: Mr. José Sarney Filho, Minister of the Environment
Mr. Joaquim Silva e Luna, Minister of Defense Mr. Eliseu Padilha, Chief of Staff of the Presidency
05 March 2018
Dear Mr. President,
The World Cetacean Alliance (WCA) is the world’s largest Partnership working to protect whales, dolphins and porpoises (cetaceans). One of our main objectives is to protect critical habitat including key breeding, feeding and migratory areas for cetaceans. To achieve this, we work with governments, politicians, members of the public, and industry to campaign publicly and through political offices as necessary. We are also developing and implementing new concepts for responsible whale and dolphin watching tourism as an opportunity to inspire and educate millions of people, as well as providing sustainable sources of income for coastal communities worldwide.
We would like to congratulate the Brazilian Government’s initiative to declare two mosaics of Large Marine Protected Areas (LMPAs) comprising 900,000 km2 of the southern Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic has received comparatively little attention for marine conservation, making this an outstanding global contribution from Brazil.
The two remote archipelagos — São Pedro and São Paulo, and Vitória-Trindade — included in the LMPAs are biodiversity hotspots, harboring endemic, vulnerable and endangered species, including whales, dolphins and many pelagic species severely depleted by industrial over-fishing. Also, despite their remoteness, both areas offer great potential for the development of a new oceanic ecotourism industry, based on responsible whale and dolphin watching, as well as SCUBA diving.
The higher levels of protection proposed in both LMPAs are an especially important piece of this proposal, as they are considered the most effective tools for ocean conservation. Therefore, we urge the Brazilian government to expand the Integral Protection (no-take) zones in the proposals to safeguard marine biodiversity and advance Brazil to a major promoter in the protection of marine ecosystems and a global leader in marine conservation, which we would greatly appreciate and support.
Dylan Walker CEO
Main image: © Institute Baleria Jubarte