Proposal of a Marine Protected Area for the Central Zone of Chile

This week we accompanied representatives of groups that promote the creation of a Coastal Marine Protected Area of Multiple Uses on the coast of the Sixth Region, in a meeting with the Minister of the Environment.

A Strategic Environmental Assessment is currently being developed by the Regional Government of O’Higgins in order to commence a zoning process in the Sixth Region of Chile. For this reason, several organizations, led by fishermen’s unions and representatives of Fundación Rompientes, met with the Minister of the Environment, Marcelo Mena, to express their interest in contributing to the creation of a Coastal Marine Protected Area of Multiple Uses (MPA-MU). They are leading a work proposal that includes other organizations such as: Topocalma Fishermen’s Union, Artisanal Fishing Confederation of Cardenal Caro Province, Fundación Kennedy, Puertecillo Playas Libres, Patagonia Inc., Fundación Punta de Lobos, Chile Costa Central and Fundación Mar Adentro.

The objective is to increase the representativeness of Marine Protected Areas in the central zone of Chile, a territory that according to experts has a low level of conservation and is  highly exposed to anthropic pressures that pose serious threats that need to be prevented: contamination by waste, coastal construction works that alter beach morphology, a growing real estate development without environmental assessments, difficulties in public access to the coastal edge by private initiatives, displacement of local inhabitants, loss of traditional activities, among others.

The area to be protected begins in Las Brisas sector, in the district of Navidad, to Topocalma, in the district of Litueche. In these areas there are important biodiversity reserves, such as the wetlands of Cáhuil and Topocalma, and the rock formations of Punta de Lobos, Topocalma and Pupuya. As a consequence of sports tourism in this territory, there are environmental, social and economic aspects that urgently need to be analyzed between all involved parties, in addition to protecting the natural life that it houses.

Minister Mena undertook to communicate the importance of this request to the new government authorities, and invited them to work together on the creation of a MPA-MU, for which he gave them certain key guidelines that the proposal must contain. In the coming days, Fundación Rompientes will convene a work meeting between the different groups of interest to lay the foundations for this work.