Marine Reserve in the bay of hanga roa
The need for the implementation of a Marine Reserve in the bay of Hanga Roa O Tai is urgent. The high grade of isolation of Easter Island and the low amount of fish and lobster which were detected make it necessary to establish policies for sustainable management of fishing and permit the resident fish to grow to full reproductive maturity in order to increase the production of eggs.
At the end of 1999, the Under-secretary of the Chilean Navy dictated – with no community consultation – three Submarine Parks, which, to date, lack a specific management plan, probably due to the small size of two of them (Coral Nui Nui on the northern side of Hanga Roa Bay and Motu Tautara) and the difficult access to the third (Hanga Oteo). Today the Chamber of Tourism is proposing to enlarge the borders of the first of these already certified parks to include the area of Hanga Roa O Tai, which offers a complete and almost unique representation of the varied coastal habitats to be found on Rapa Nui. At a later date, the administration of the other two current submarine parks could be integrated, thus capturing the greater part of the biodiversity of the marine environment of Rapa Nui.
To conclude, Edgar Hereveri notes: “Actually, the National Fisheries Service (Sernapesca) on Rapa Nui does not have the technical capacity to administer these submarine parks, nor does it have the legal authority to delegate that task to semi-governmental corporations, leaving them with only the supervision of the management. For the moment, we have to wait for a constitutional revision which would allow us more autonomy of administration in relation to those topics which affect us directly. We mustn’t forget that in the past we had the “Tapu” (cultural prohibitions), which offered a system of management of marine resources and which still exist in the collective memory of the Rapanui; we would only have to remind them. In Polynesia, there are already several marine reserves which have been able to recover their islands from massive overfishing, so that today they offer recreation and ecotourism, becoming true centers of ecological information.”
Results of Study
National Geographic & Oceana Chile
2 Salas y Gomez has the greatest biomass of fish in the Pacific: Easter Island, in spite of offering excellent habitat, has only a third of the biomass of fish that is found at Salas y Gomez, probably due to overfishing. The same is happening with the populations of lobster and slipper lobster which have almost disappeared on Rapa Nui.
3 A rich community of fish is also found outside of the Marine Park: The submarine seamounts between Easter Island and Salas y Gomez are home to a rich community of fish; 46% of the species are endemic, including a species that is new to science (Chromis sp.nov.)
4 Alta cobertura de Coral Vivo en ambas islas. El 53% del fondo marino en Rapa Nui y el 44% en Salas y Gomez está ocupado por coral vivo en excelente condición.
5 High numbers of large predators at Salas y Gomez: They represent 43% of the total biomass of reef fish. On Rapa Nui, sharks were not observed and there is a general lack of other large predators, such as mackerel and yellowtail toremo, also probably as a result of overfishing.
6 Major Relevance of Algae Marine Life in Easter Island: It can be attributed to herbivore fish species from ocean wells in Salas y Gomez and the scarcity of that species in Easter Island.
7 The Manutara (Easter Island tern) still nests on Salas y Gomez: The protection of their area of reproduction and feeding around Salas y Gomez is vitally important to assure their presence on both islands.
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