The South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization (SPRFMO) closed its annual meeting this year and endorsed a research plan to be spearheaded by Chile to investigate the biodiversity values of the Salas y Gomez and Nazca ridge areas of the Southeast Pacific ocean, east of Chile.
The area had been the subject of compliance action after European Union and Russian vessels fished in the area last year catching thousands of tonnes of alfonsino, a deepwater species.
The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC), an observer to SPRFMO, told SPRFMO this week that this area is designated by the Biodiversity Convention as an EBSA (an Ecologically or Biologically Significant Area), and that there is scientific evidence that there are high levels of endemism, including fish. (endemism means species native to a single defined geographic location). The European Union had proposed a fisheries survey but decided not to pursue the proposal during the meeting.
“The commitment by Chile to carry out the research programme in this area is an important first step to protecting this internationally biodiverse area,” said DSCC head of delegation Duncan Currie. “It is reassuring that SPRFMO pursued compliance action after the illegal fishing.”
“The Salas y Gomez and Nazca ridges contain one of the most unique collections of natural and cultural resources on Earth. We are in a unique position in that we can proactively close this global biodiversity hotspot to industrial fishing, and thereby help address the biodiversity and climate crisis in this critical year for ocean conservation.”Daniel Wagner, Director of the Coral Reefs of the High Seas Coalition