Blue Marine is gathering evidence to justify the designation of a vast marine protected area in the Gulf of Peñas in Patagonia.
The Gulf of Peñas in Patagonia is one of the last great coastal refuges in the world and a feeding ground for some of the rarest baleen whales in the Pacific Ocean.
A mass mortality event of over 200 sei whales in Patagonia in 2016 first drew our attention to the area. Research suggests that this was caused by toxic blooms of red algae and may well be exacerbated by the threat of intensive, poorly regulated salmon farming which floods the fjords with antibiotics and algae-promoting fish waste.
In December 2018, Blue Marine researchers observed a juvenile blue whale in the gulf, confirming suspicions that the area is home to the largest animal on the planet. Acoustic hydrophone recordings also point to the presence of southern right and humpback whales.
Blue Marine believes that the whales and the threats they are facing strengthen the case for protection of the area. A vast marine protected area in the Gulf of Peñas would not only protect the great whales and their habitat, but ensure that coastal fishing communities thrive, and that destructive, unsustainable salmon farming is regulated.
Summaries of Blue Marine and Patagonia Project’s work to date can be found below:
200 dead sei whales in 2016
950 grams of antibiotics used to raise one ton of farmed Chilean salmon
16 major fisheries collapsed
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