Banning Industries in Chile’s Patagonian Protected Areas

“The Protected Marine Areas and the coastal marine spaces adjoining the Protected Land Areas fulfill a fundamental role in conserving the biodiversity, the cultural values, and the livelihood of the communities that depend on them.”

“As WWF Chile, we have a special commitment to protect the marine landscape of the Chilean Patagonia.”

By Agenda Pais (El Mostrador)

HAVANA TIMES – The environmental organization World Wildlife Fund Chile (WWF Chile) recommends prohibiting all industrial activity in the Protected Marine Areas of the Chilean Patagonia, as well as in the marine areas adjoining the Protected Land Areas of that region. The report especially emphasized banning mining exploitation, salmon farming and industrial fishing.

The document stressed the urgent need to establish a public agency linked to the Ministry of the Environment that would be responsible for the conservation of biodiversity and for administering a National System of Protected Areas.

Those are the major conclusions of the report the environmental NGO published this week, entitled: “Industrial Activities in Protected Marine Areas of the Chilean Patagonia”.

“There’s sufficient technical evidence behind the idea that this type of productive initiative is incompatible with the conservation objectives of the laws establishing these natural protection zones, whatever their conservation status and category,” commented Rodrigo Catalan, conservation director of WWF Chile.

“The Protected Marine Areas and the coastal marine spaces adjoining the Protected Land Areas fulfill a fundamental role in conserving the biodiversity, the cultural values, and the livelihood of the communities that depend on them,” he stated.

“As WWF Chile, we have a special commitment to protect the marine landscape of the Chilean Patagonia. We also recognize and respect the rights and ancestral knowledge of the local and indigenous communities that form part of these ecosystems, in addition to supporting the development of scientific investigation to encourage solid public policies, that are validated by all those involved,” he added.

In line with this commitment, the study focused on three of the activities that are currently most common in the protected Patagonian areas: mining, industrial fishing and salmon farming. It included an analysis of the impact of these activities, as well as the legal tools and mechanisms that support protection against industrial development.

“There are international agreements signed by Chile that allow the restriction of that type of activity in the protected areas, through administrative processes. At the same time, we estimate that we can count on a minimal regulatory framework to support the effective implementation of conservation policies in these areas of the Chilean Patagonia. The prohibition of industrial activities in this area should be accompanied by provisions restricting projects of this type in the vicinity of the [protected] areas and also regulating navigation to control the risk of colliding with marine fauna, among other impacts,” Catalan continued.

Along with these measures, the report from WWF Chile stressed the urgent need to establish a public agency, linked to the Ministry of the Environment, that would be responsible for conserving biodiversity and the administration of a National System of Protected Areas, be they marine or land areas, including public as well as private assets, and with a focus on protecting nature and respecting the rights of the indigenous and local communities.

You can read the entire report here [in Spanish].

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