Argentina’s Open-Ocean Reserve

August 2, 2013

Argentina has created its first open-ocean protected area, Burdwood Bank. This sanctuary in the Patagonian Sea will protect whales, penguins, and rare cold corals. WCS commends Argentina’s government on the achievement, and thanks local partners of the Forum of NGOs.

Cold corals found nowhere else on Earth. Abundant stocks of sardines. Albatross, penguins, marine mammals, and other top predators. These wildlife wonders of the southwest Atlantic received new protection as Argentina designated Burdwood Bank its first open-ocean protected area.

WCS has advocated for open-ocean protected areas in the Patagonian Sea since 2005, and commends the government of Argentina, particularly Representatives Luis Basterra and Guillermo Carmona, for this major conservation milestone.

Burdwood Bank’s submerged plateau covers nearly 11,000-square-miles and is one of the most productive regions of the Patagonian Sea. It is part of WCS’s Sea and Sky Initiative, led by Dr. Claudio Campagna, and the program’s work, including the publication of the Patagonian Marine Atlas, co-edited by WCS GIS expert Valeria Falabella, helped justify its protection. Collaboration with Argentine organizations that make up the Forum of NGOs for the Conservation of the Patagonian Sea, as well as Argentine scientists and conservationists, made formal protection of Burdwood Bank a reality.

“Now that Burdwood Bank is a protected area declared by national law, the next step to ensure it will remain a sanctuary for wildlife is to have a management plan, which will require further support from the government and our partners. There is also a need for further exploration of the bank and learn more about its unique diversity,” said WCS President and CEO Dr. Cristián Samper in a media statement.

Read the media statement >>
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