PRESIDENT VIZCARRA: CREATING THE NAZCA RIDGE MARINE PROTECTED AREA WILL BE YOUR LEGACY

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Peru’s ocean is the most productive marine ecosystem in the world, and the Nazca Ridge is one of its most unique underwater habitats. Home to deep-water sharks, commercially important species like swordfish, and reef-building corals, the Nazca Ridge also serves as a migratory stop-off for endangered blue whales.

But Peru’s Nazca Ridge remains unprotected. In total, less than 0.5% of all Peru’s ocean is protected. Despite committing to protect 10% by this year, Peru is far behind neighbors like Chile (42% protected) and Brazil (27% protected).

The consequences are severe. Industrial fishing, climate change and pollution threaten the important ecosystems and species that thrive in this area. We can ensure the Nazca Ridge remains a globally unique biodiversity hot spot.

Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra and his Minister of the Environment Fabiola Muñoz can help right now. By creating the Nazca Ridge Marine Protected Area, they can protect 63,000 square kilometers, 7.3% of Peru’s marine territory, and establish a powerful legacy that will secure the future of the Peruvian ocean for generations to come. We want to celebrate this achievement for Peru at the UN Ocean Conference in June. But President Vizcarra needs to know our international community of ocean activists are behind him.

Join Oceana in Peru in urging President Vizcarra: Create the Nazca Ridge Marine Protected Area to restore Peru’s abundant oceans for future generations and establish your legacy!

President Martín Vizcarra of the Republic of Peru:

I am writing today, in support of your interest in creating the Nazca Ridge Marine Protected Area. The Peruvian ocean, the most productive in the world, urgently needs your help. Peru’s coastal waters cover less than 0.1% of the world's marine surface and account for more than 10% of all global marine fish captures since 1950, supporting Peru’s economy and shaping its very culture.

However, this productivity is not infinite. Over-exploitation and the environmental changes resulting from climate change are putting at increasing risk the fisheries supporting the extraordinary productivity of the Peruvian ocean. Despite this fact and the enormous value and importance that Peruvians give to their marine resources, protection of Peru’s oceans is virtually non-existent.

Less than 0.5% of the Peruvian maritime territory is under legal protection, a figure far from the 10% goal which Peru committed to as a signatory of the 2020 Sustainable Development Goals and the Aichi Targets of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. At the regional level, Peru comes in last in marine protection: Chile already has protected 42% of its territorial waters and Brazil 27%.

The creation of the Nazca Ridge Marine Protected Area is long pending. Your government has made multiple declarations of its intent, but no clear action has yet been taken. The Nazca Ridge is part of a chain of underwater mountains off the coast of Peru, part of an extensive mountain range that crosses the South Pacific, where a great diversity of habitats and species, unique to this mountain range, is found. The creation and incorporation of the Nazca Ridge Marine Protected Area into the Peruvian National System of Protected Areas would raise Peru from the current 0.5% to a drastically improved 7% and could even reach the promised 10% under more expansive proposals – all by you taking this one action.

President Vizcarra, you and Minister Muñoz, have an opportunity right now, in advance of Peru’s Bicentennial, to create a powerful legacy that will secure the future of the Peruvian ocean and its extraordinary resources for generations of Peruvians to come. 

It is time to make history, reaffirm the priority we know you give to the protection of this extraordinary part of the world and help recover the most abundant sea in the world. We are fully with you to give the final push to create the Nazca Ridge Marine Protected Area now!

Sincerely,

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