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Photo: courtesy Revista puerto

MPA 'Agujero Azul': For me it is a crusade

Click on the flag for more information about Argentina ARGENTINA
Friday, September 10, 2021, 07:00 (GMT + 9)

The Argentine deputy Graciela Camaño said this in the webinar on Marine Protected Areas (MPA) organized by the Forum for the Conservation of the Patagonian Sea, in which referents from Argentina and Chile spoke about the fulfillment of the protection objectives of MPAs.


A new webinar was held on marine protected areas organized by the Forum for the Conservation of the Patagonian Sea, in which environmental and political specialists from Argentina and Chile participated. While the Argentine Foreign Ministry comes into conflict with the neighboring country, scientists fight for a shared administration of the protection zones and speak of the urgent need to conceive biodiversity without borders. Among the participants was present the deputy Graciela Camaño, who in her presentation said that the creation of the MPA Agujero Azul is for her "a crusade."

The webinar "Best Marine Protected Areas" addressed the representativeness of the areas already established, meaning representativeness the fulfillment of the objectives established at the time of their creation and the coverage of new identified areas.

“Biodiversity has no borders,” was the kick-off of the presentation by consultant Santiago Krapovickas, in charge of the Forum's project to strengthen the MPA of Argentina and Chile. "Biodiversity is mobilized throughout the region, there are thousands of species that depend on this ecosystem," he said, adding: "The urgency to work in these areas is the threats that enhance each other and affect the ecosystem, such as extractive activity and the search for oil, added to climate change ”.

“There is empirical evidence, scientists are showing that the seas are warming in our region and the Brazilian current is transforming, reaching further south and this is generating a rearrangement of biodiversity and affects the benefits that people receive from the sea. ”, Expressed Krapovickas.

Referring to MPAs, he pointed out that they are an attempt to protect biodiversity and their importance lies in the biological, but also economic and social benefits that they generate, both for the tourism and fishing sectors. The exhibitor pointed out that Chile has 40% of its waters protected while Argentina has 8% and pointed out that in addition to being necessary to increase the percentage in our country, they should be seen as a network with those already established by our neighbors. In the case of Brazil, the percentage of protection reaches 27% and in Uruguay only 0.75%.

The representative of WCS Argentina, Valeria Falabella, pointed out that in Argentina none of the productive fronts is protected, as well as several key areas that have been identified. "30% of the species are threatened and are concentrated in the Buenos Aires coastal sector and the Río de la Plata Front," she pointed out.

"The MPAs that exist are not enough to protect the heterogeneity of environments and ecosystems in our sea," said Falabella and recalled that our country has not managed to achieve the internationally assumed protection goals of 10%. But she also indicated that, "there is evidence that 10% is insufficient."

On the other hand, he stressed that protection objectives are achieved when "the criteria of effectiveness, connectivity and representativeness are met" and clarified that representativeness is not being met: "We have three MPAs and they are oceanic that represent 90% of protection in the southernmost area ”. The speaker indicated that Argentina does not even have a map of the ecosystems of the Argentine Sea.

In turn, the Chilean governor of the Magallanes Region, Jorge Files, focused on the importance of including in the debates for the demarcation and fulfillment of the objectives set for the MPAs, the inclusion of communities, especially indigenous peoples, with an important presence in the coastal areas of Chile.

“Chile is going through a very important political period, after the social outbreaks, a constitutional assembly was created made up of a high percentage of women and aboriginal communities. One thing is the declaration of an MPA and another is to have knowledge of those areas, ” said the governor, referring to the importance of listening to what the native peoples have to contribute.

At the same time, he reported that, despite the fact that his country invests only 0.3% of the budget in science, new research centers are being established in the southernmost region of the country and an ad hoc commission has been created to establish strategic guidelines for the next 30 years.

Deputy Graciela Camano spoke next. "The representativeness of the MPAs is achieved by creating areas, having a management plan and budget," she considered. It was to be expected that, due to its legislative work, it would elaborate on this last point, since our country allocates less than 2 dollars per square kilometer for the already established MPAs. But no, she devoted herself to the presentation of the extensive MPA Agujero Azul , which, if the budget is not improved, will lead to pennies being allocated.

Regarding the MPA Agujero Azul, she repeated the arguments that we have already heard on several occasions: “It will bring biological, economic, social and strategic benefits. Personally, I also appreciate that the place where the remains of the ARA San Juan submarine lie is being honored, which is indicative of what happens to us Argentines when we want to take care of our sea ”, she launched.

"For me this is a crusade and we are very optimistic about the possibility of convincing our colleagues of the need to create the Blue Hole MPA and we have the support of all areas of the National Executive," said the deputy. She seems not to take into account the recommendations of the Directorate of Marine Protected Areas under the Ministry of the Environment, which suggested reviewing the extension because it did not have a budget or sufficient information to make it effective.

To meet conservation objectives and not have paper MPAs, it is necessary to overcome at least four major challenges, said Egle Flores, biologist and senior advisor to the Packard Foundation: a centralized administration to generate protocols; understand that good governance includes affected communities to make a common front; effective implementation and financing. Pending matters in Argentina.

Author: Karina Fernandez / Revista Puerto (article available only in spanish)

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