In late February, we reported on Protected Areas in Brazil. At the time, the nation had only 1.5% of its jurisdictional waters under protection. However, the Brazilian government was considering proposals to establish a mosaic of MPAs. The Brazilian President promised to announce a decision in early March. We asked you, our #OceanTribe, to write to the government urging MPA protection. And, it WORKED!

Breaking News: The president of Brazil, Michel Temer has announced final APPROVAL for more marine protection. Two areas in the South Atlantic Ocean will be marine conservation areas. The location? The oceanic archipelagos of St. Peter & St. Paul Rocks and Trindade & Martim Vaz. The size? 920 thousand square kilometers of Brazilian waters. This decision adds to the growing list of marine protected areas in the world. With this resolution, Brazil´s MPA coverage jumps to some 21% of its Economic Exclusive Zone. See more in Scientific American.

Proposed Brazilian MPASThe waters surrounding this area harbors endemic, vulnerable and endangered species. The benefits of a marine reserve include more habitat for pelagic species severely depleted by industrial over-fishing.
The two oceanic marine parks will provide No-Take zones for:
the critically endangered Atlantic Goliath Grouper and Black Grouper; the endangered Scalloped Hammerhead shark; two species of marine turtles; and the critically endangered Hawksbill and Green Turtles.

But this protection goes further than oceanic waters to include the whole coastal ecosystem. The nation will also protect thousands of square kilometers of mangroves in the Amazon. This protection of wetlands is one solution to combat deforestation in the country. These two decisions bring biodiversity conservation to nearly 25% of the country’s waters. Extra marine protection initiatives are expected to be announced soon.

Simone_Marinho_-_Trindade_brazil marine protected area atlantic(photo – Simone Marinho)

The Brazilian Blue Initiative

Along with this protection, President Temer also addressed social aspects of change in his speech.

“Preserving the seas requires the engagement of all. In Brazil, we launched the Blue Initiative. With it, we are building partnerships with local communities, companies, international organizations, and, finally, with all of society, to join efforts to benefit the environment.”

The Brazilian Blue Initiative will work with local and artisanal fishing communities. This population is estimated at approximately 800,000 fishers. The mission of the Initiative is to ensure the sustainability of the country’s marine resources.

 

Despite being far from shore, both areas have enormous potential for SCUBA diving given the unique wildlife and underwater landscapes. Now protected, this area might give rise to a whole new live-aboard industry. According to two of the Brazil-based NGOs spearheading the proposals–Divers for Sharks and the Brazilian Humpback Whale Institute–this is a great opportunity to grow a non-extractive industry.

 

By Jose Truda Palazzo, Blue Ocean Contributor

Thanks for supporting the #OceanTribe.

Jose was interviewed during our 2015 Blue Ocean Summit, see this article: Speaking Out About our Industry’s Economic Clout. José is the co-founder of Divers for Sharks, visit him on facebook and is a member of the Blue Ocean Network,

 

See these additional, related Blue Ocean Posts on MPAs!

Marine Protected Areas: Seed Banks for the Future!
Help Brazilian divers create the Albardão National Park
Amazon’s Muddy Discharge Hides Life on Sea Bottom
Hopes Dashed, Hopes Raised for World’s Largest MPA in Eastern Antarctic
Marine Protected Areas: Good News, Bad News
Marine Protected Areas: Giant Leap for Fish Kind
Misool Eco-Resort Celebrates Ten Years of Marine Conservation
Illegal Trafficking of Wildlife: What You Need To Know!
Traditional Fishing Communities: a Necessary Part of the Discussion

 

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