Iconic ‘Easter Island’ Declared Key Marine Sanctuary In The Pacific

World famous Easter Island has been declared a key Marine Sanctuary in the Southeastern Pacific at a conference hosted by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet recently. The announcement accentuates a pivotal global action plan intended to prevent widespread illegal industrial fishing in addition to permanently safeguarding oceanic biodiversity. The United States also announced new marine reserves in the waters of Maryland as well as Lake Michigan at the event.

The coalition initiative aims to tighten the noose on unregulated industrial fishing increasingly rampant in the waters of the Pacific and elsewhere along with preserving potentially endangered oceanic habitats in and around the territories where such practices are most prevalent.

Easter Island’s waters are home to a sprawling fish habitat as well as a vital source of primary sustenance for its native Rapa Nui people. These native inhabitants have long protested the large-scale unlawful industrial fishing practices rampant in their territorial waters. Such perturbing circumstances continue deny the local population of much of the island’s core fish resources as well as spawn perilously destructive and life-threatening implications for the islanders. A continuous presence of several illegal fishing vessels prying the waters around these territories has been frequently observed.

A recent study has revealed a tremendous decline in ocean population over the past few decades. According to a WWF Report, populations of marine vertebrates have deteriorated by 49 percent in less than fifty years, with some fish species declining by almost 75 percent.

The report points out to an incessant deterioration of coral reefs, mangroves, and other natural habitats critical to the preservation of diverse aquatic ecosystems and by extension the native populations that principally rely on the latter for sustenance.

The report also lends insight into the various methods countries around the world can employ to successfully reverse this cycle of dramatic deterioration through successive far-reaching measures. Some countries are preparing to respond to the challenge by attempting to regulate fish stocks, apprehend the potential risk factors that may imperil global marine life and initiate endeavors across the board to preserve key marine habitats.

According to a study conducted last year by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, nearly 30 percent of the world’s fish resources have been confirmed as excessively over-exploited. Countries seemingly unable to implement rigorous deep-sea fishing regulations appear to be adding to the scale of the problem.

Conversely, countries including the United States are looking to spearhead a spirited global campaign that could inspire governments around the world to confront the odds and enforce stringent control mechanisms in and around their respective oceanic territories.

Last month, New Zealand announced one of the largest marine protected areas in the world, covering a colossal 620,000 square kilometers of territory. The Kermadec ocean sanctuary has been recognized as one of the world’s largest fully secured ecosystems. The Marine Reserve is located in the South Pacific Ocean, about 1,000 km north-east of New Zealand.

Easter Island, presently a Chilean territory, is a remote volcanic island in Polynesia. Famed for its historic sites, most notably its 900 statues crafted by its early Rapa Nui inhabitants centuries ago, the island enjoys a distinctly iconic stature.

Scientists have estimated that the island had for centuries flourished with an estimated 15,000 inhabitants. These numbers mysteriously dwindled to an alarming 3,000 as late as 1722, an unusually striking phenomenon that has sparked the curiosity of contemporary anthropologists.

The newly declared Eastern Island Marine Reserve has been described as one of the largest marine sanctuaries on the planet.

[Image Via Wikipedia]