This new partnership provides at-sea and legal support to prevent the exploitation of one of the world’s most vulnerable marine ecosystems.
LIMA, Peru – Aug. 11, 2020 – As part of its ongoing efforts to protect marine life in the Eastern Tropical Pacific and other biodiversity hotspots, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Sea Shepherd Legal entered into an official agreement on Aug. 4 with SERNANP, Peru’s national agency for natural protected areas. Through the agreement, Sea Shepherd will support Peru’s efforts to establish several new marine protected areas and reduce threats to aquatic ecosystems.
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will provide a vessel to assist SERNANP and other Peruvian agencies with observations of at-risk and migratory species, monitoring the area for threats to biodiversity. Sea Shepherd Legal will help authorities uphold existing laws and develop supporting policies for the new marine protected areas.
“We are extremely honored to have this opportunity and are delighted to move forward with this next step in our support for Peru,” said Catherine Pruett, Executive Director for Sea Shepherd Legal. The environmental law firm has provided capacity support to the government of Peru on the issues of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, organized crime, and enhancement of legal protections for marine wildlife since 2016.
Peru’s waters are home to an abundance of marine life, including more than 30 species of whales and dolphins, over 60 species of sharks, and the largest anchovy population in the world. A number of the shark species found in Peruvian waters are at risk of extinction, yet less than 0.5%of Peru’s 1,500-mile coastline is protected through a formal conservation framework. Without the creation of additional marine protected areas, Peru’s aquatic species will continue to be at risk from threats such as poaching and overfishing.
Recognizing that its rich waters are biologically and economically significant, Peru has pledged to create several new marine protected areas. Among the regions included for consideration is the Dorsal de Nasca National Reserve. This 24,000-square-mile area in southern Peru hosts 93 submarine mountains and is home to 1,100 marine species, many of which are endemic. Also included for designation is a collection of ecosystems in northern Peru called the Reserva Nacional Mar Tropical de Grau. This 600-square-mile region, consisting of three coastal ecosystems and one offshore area, is inhabited by a range of threatened species. Creating these new marine protected areas will make significant progress toward the current global target to set aside 30% of marine habitats as “highly protected MPAs and other effective area-based conservation measures” adopted during the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s 2016 World Conservation Congress.
“Sea Shepherd is proud to support the initiative of the government of Peru to bring more of its sovereign waters under conservation protections while also recognizing the importance of getting eyes on the water – both to properly assess threats to biodiversity and to deter illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing,” said Peter Hammarstedt, Director of Campaigns for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. ”We are excited for our ship and crew to work with world-class scientists, under the direction of the government of Peru, on the front line of marine conservation.”