Marine Protected Areas Proposed in Abrolhos

The time has come to decide the future of marine life and sustainable economic activities in the region of the Abrolhos, in the Brazilian state of Bahia. On April 3rd the Chico Mendes Biodiversity Conservation Institute (ICMBio), a Brazilian environmental agency, opened a public consultation session regarding the creation of new and fundamental conservation areas in the region.

The plan includes, among many innovations, the expansion of the Abrolhos Marine National Park of 87,943 to 891,972 hectares, in addition to the creation of the wildlife refuge of the humpback whale, with more than 760 thousand hectares.

The details are in a proposal document prepared by technicians of ICMBio and researchers at Conservação Internacional Brasil, whose marine program focuses on Abrolhos. The arguments in the proposal are based on quality scientific research.

In 2010, I joined an iLCP supported a Tripods Expedition with photographers Paul Nicklen, Cristina Mittermiere, and John Martin. We spent two weeks on a research expedition with Conservation International. Images from the expedition were published on the iLCP blog and in October 2010 edition of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC BRASIL. The images have also been used in a series of campaigns and scientific work done to support the proposed increase in protected areas.

Now, in 2012, I am excited to read this new proposal that is set to improve protection of marine life in the Abrolhos and would provide direct benefits to the activities already under way in the area, such as tourism and fishing. If the current Dilma administration fulfills its campaign promise to support sustainable development, we can expect to have this proposal approved. On this premise, Dilma should also veto the new Forestry Code.