June 27, 2022
Featured image: Eduardo Sorensen
Today at the 2022 UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, Adrián Peña, Minister of Environment of Uruguay, announced that the country has committed to protecting 10% of its EEZ, or Exclusive Economic Zone with a new marine protected area (MPA) encompassing 12,000 km2 with 60% as a no-take zone. This plan is part of the announced “roadmap” called Uruguay Azul 2030, in which Uruguay commits to expand its total protected areas to 30% by 2030. Previously, just 0.7% of the country’s EEZ has been formally protected.
This new MPA will not touch the coastline; at the furthest point from the coast, the boundary begins at 64.3 km, and at the nearest point, the boundary begins at 16 km off the coast. The MPA will be presented in November 2022, with a decree in March 2023. Uruguay’s waters contain the habitats of various endangered fauna species, including sharks, manta rays, sea turtles and several species of cetaceans.
Rodrigo Garcia Pingaro, Champion of the Whale and Dolphin Sanctuary of Uruguay Hope Spot says, “This new marine protected area provides so much hope to not only Uruguay but for the entire ocean”, he says. “I believe that having a Hope Spot recognized here helped get marine conservation on the government’s agenda and caught the public’s attention to how deeply important it is to formally and thoroughly protect the marine life in Uruguay’s waters.”