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Protecting Easter Island’s Marine Life

Ahu Akahanga | By: Pablo Rodríguez Madroño

Chile’s Easter Island (Isla de Pascua) is one of the earth’s most remote and mysterious destinations. The moai, an archeological spectacle consisting of hundreds of ancient rock-carved human figures, are just one aspect of what makes this island so alluring.

Already a designated World Heritage Site, Easter Island may soon hold claim to another distinguishing title—marine sanctuary. An effort by the Pew Environment Group is in motion to protect the rich marine life of the island’s surrounding waters.

The global conservation organization is leading a proposal to establish nearly 400,000 square miles of the Pacific Ocean into protected marine areas. If successful, these waters would become the world’s largest marine sanctuary.

The Easter Island Development Committee has already given the campaign the go-ahead, and if approved by the island’s indigenous Rapa Nui community, fishing and other extractive activities that threaten the water’s rich and unique marine life will be prohibited.

Similar protective measures have recently taken place in the region. Last year, the Chilean government created a 58,000-square-mile marine reserve around the Sala y Gómez Island, which is part of the Easter Island Commune. These moves may well propel Chile into the position of being a global leader in marine conservation.

By: Molly Dyal