Peru’s new marine reserve raises hopes, questions


The four zones of Peru’s new marine reserve collectively encompass a wide variety of sea creatures. (Photo by Yuri Hooker/SPDA)

Peru has created a new reserve to protect one of the world’s highest-biodiversity tropical marine areas, but some scientists worry it could be negatively affected by oil production and industrial fishing that will still be allowed there. The new Tropical Mar de Grau National Reserve, announced April 26, covers 115,676 square kilometers (44,662.75 square miles) in four separate zones off the coast of the regions of Piura and Tumbes in northern Peru. The mixing of warm tropical waters from the north and the cold Humboldt Current that originates near Antarctica creates an array of habitats for a wide range of marine life, from whale sharks to sea slugs, some of which are found nowhere else on Earth. The four areas included in the reserve—three near the coast and one on a seamount farther offshore—protect very different ecosystems where scientists already have found scores of species that had... [Log in to read more]

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