Social media turns tide of ocean protection in Brazil


A latest transfer by the federal government of Brazil has created a haven for marine life in an space larger than France and the UK — mixed.

By establishing two new two marine protected areas (MPAs), Brazil expanded
its community of protected waters from 1.5 % to 24.5 % of its unique financial zone (a rustic’s
coastal waters, to which they declare absolute rights over financial actions and pure assets).

The brand new protected areas, it appears, have social media to thank.

Along with 37 different organizations, Conservation Worldwide (CI) launched a social media marketing campaign, #ItsOceanTime. Greater than 10,000 supporters signed the petition or recorded video messages in help of the protected areas. Greater than 25,000 folks
despatched emails to President Michael Temer to create the brand new MPAs. Brazilian actors, scientists and surfers  additionally voiced their help for the MPAs.

Totaling 900,000 sq. kilometers (about 347,491 sq. miles), the new MPAs embody the Trindade-Martin Vaz archipelago and the encircling underwater mountains, house to a various array of algae, sharks, marine turtles, corals and sponges. The
new MPAs additionally embody the São Pedro and São Paulo archipelago, house to migratory species together with Mobula manta rays and whale sharks. The areas received’t be open for any financial exercise, making certain ample house
for these susceptible species to develop and stay.

“This was a longtime request from marine scientists in Brazil,” mentioned Rodrigo Medeiros, vice chairman of Conservation Worldwide-Brazil. Medeiros mentioned that this yr the Brazilian authorities began a joint initiative with the Ministries
of the Surroundings and Protection to create the protected areas.

Brazil is the newest nation to announce plans to ascertain new MPAs this yr; Belize, Seychelles, Chile and Canada lately made related declarations. Regardless of this momentum, marine conservationists are pushing for extra.

“There’s been a boom in the creation of large MPAs worldwide,” Medeiros mentioned. “However they’re defending massive and unexplored areas — which doesn’t imply they aren’t necessary, however these areas have fewer conflicts
as a result of they’re removed from land and remoted.”

Conservation Worldwide CEO Dr. M. Sanjayan, marine biologist Sylvia Earle and conservation biologist Thomas Lovejoy mentioned they’ll collaborate with the Brazilian authorities on the very best methods to plan and handle the protected areas.

“The two remote archipelagos in the MPAs are important seamount chains that are home to unique biodiversity, including threatened and endemic species,” Sanjayan mentioned. “The seafloor of these areas — at depths as much as 5,000 meters
— stay largely unexplored. Their conservation will allow future generations the possibility to check and sustainably use these areas.”

Morgan Lynch is a workers author for Conservation Worldwide.

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Cowl picture: The Trindade-Martin Vaz Archipelago, pictured above, is the most important of the brand new protected areas in Brazil. (© Flavio Forner)

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