Announcing the World’s Most Spectacular Ocean Reserve

Feb 18, 2022

Do you have a bucket list when it comes to travel? Are there special places in the world you’d really love to see and explore? You’re not alone. Many of us dream of faraway places and destinations that are off the beaten track. One of mine is to visit the Galapagos Islands.

One of our recent blogs, entitled “Nova Scotia Announces Launch of Whale Sanctuary”, was popular among our readership. It was about the establishment of a new marine sanctuary dedicated to whales in the waters off the coast of Nova Scotia. Again, that’s somewhere I’d like to visit, too. To get to see the whales who’ve finally been released from aquariums back in their natural, but protected, habitat would be pretty awesome.

Following up on that marine story, another recent and exciting partnership between four countries in South and Central America caught our attention. So, once again, we thought it may be of great interest to those of you who are captivated not only by marine life of all kinds, but also marine conservation and the welfare of our oceans.

“Green” Travel Just Got Better

Now that global travel restrictions are being lifted, many of our adventurous and environmentally conscientious readers are looking to fulfill their “bucket lists” of travelling to destinations which include iconic world heritage sites like the Galapagos Islands.

The good news is that now an adventure to that Pacific Archipelago will be even more exciting and fulfilling.

Four Nations Establish Galapagos Islands Ocean Reserve

Ecuador, in partnership with regional neighbours Colombia, Panama, and Costa Rica, has created a new marine reserve to help protect the environmentally sensitive Galapagos Islands and, at the same time, create an “ocean highway” that will connect with Costa Rica’s Coco Islands marine reserve.

The new reserve expands the total protected marine area around the Galapagos archipelago by 45% to 193,000 sq. km. and will be named Hermandad, translated as Brotherhood.

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso, Colombian president Ivan Duque and the foreign ministers of both Panama and Costa Rica participated in a ceremonial signing event on January 14th, 2022, in the Galapagos Islands. Also in attendance were former US President Bill Clinton as well as noted marine biologist and conservationist Dr. Sylvia Earle.

Dr. Earle is the founder of Mission Blue and National Geographic Explorer in Residence and is quoted as saying, “Bravo, President Guillermo Lasso, and all who are supporting enhanced protection for wildlife in the ocean surrounding the Galápagos Islands, where most of the terrain is submerged – and most of the animals are aquatic. Protecting sardines and sharks have benefits that are as significant as safeguarding creatures like songbirds and sea lions. All are integral to the magical nature of the ‘Enchanted Islands’ with profound benefits to the world beyond.”

As well, President Lasso added his perspective about the valuable partnership that this new ocean reserve means: “There are places that have made a mark on the history of humanity and today we have the honour of being in one of those places. These islands that welcome us have taught us many things about ourselves. So, instead of acting as the absolute masters of these lands and seas, shouldn’t we act as their protectors?”

The Eastern Tropical Pacific

The new reserve extends to the northeast of the Pacific Ocean’s Galapagos Archipelago and follows (encompasses) a migratory route used by whales, sharks, sea turtles, and rays – thereby joining two marine UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Explore the map.

The reserve’s creation is a result of declarations made at COP26 in Glasgow late in 2021 by the four nations to work together to create a vast Eastern Tropical Pacific Marine Corridor between their countries.

Ecuadorian officials stated that the decree “undoubtedly safeguards the life-affirming wildlife experiences our guests appreciate in the Galapagos. They will enjoy and cherish the same marine natural encounters – whether through coastal explorations with dinghies, kayaks, stand-up-paddle boards or glass-bottom boats, snorkeling or SCUBA diving – for decades to come…”

I’m packing my bags, what about you?

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