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Ecuador | Campaigners push to greatly enlarge size of MPA around Galápagos

Like a thick scarf, the Galápagos Marine Reserve encircles its namesake islands, protecting 133,000 square kilometers (51,400 square miles) of nutrient-rich ocean that supports nearly 3,000 marine species. But the current reserve, which was once the second-largest in the world (now ranked 33rd), is no longer enough to protect the biodiverse waters around the Galápagos Islands, according to a coalition of scientists, conservationists, NGOs and members of the public. The solution, they say, is to extend the marine reserve by an extra 445,953 km2 (172,183 mi2) — more than triple the size of the existing marine protected area.

On Jan. 20, advocates for the extended marine reserve delivered a petition with more than 32,000 signatures of support to Ecuador’s president, Lenín Moreno, along with a scientific proposal that presents a configuration of the reserve that would maximize protection of the delicate ecosystems while also sustaining Ecuador’s fishing industries.

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