In response to the current global extinction crisis and to preserve life on this planet, in 2017, Fundación Rewilding Argentina created the Marine Conservation Program.
Between 2017 and 2022, under the No Blue No Green (Sin Azul No Hay Verde) movement, we fostered the creation of the first National Marine Parks in Argentina, prevented the salmon industry from operating in the Beagle Channel in Tierra del Fuego, and helped pass a declaration of interest for Península Mitre towards protecting a critical place for carbon capture in Argentina and for fighting the global climate crisis.
Since 2022, we have centered our marine conservation efforts on the Patagonia Azul Project on the coast of Chubut. The project aims at strengthening the protection of marine ecosystems, working for their ecological restoration, and boosting the development of a local, restorative economy through various programs we carry out along with municipalities and communities.
PATAGONIA AZUL PROJECT
The future Patagonia Azul Park lies on the coast of the province of Chubut, within the Patagonia Azul Biosphere Reserve. The area harbors over 60 key islands and sheltered bays where various marine birds and mammals feed, breed, and nest. Patagonia Azul represents a unique opportunity for conserving and recuperating natural ecosystems through rewilding while fostering a new, restorative local economy that allows people and wildlife to thrive.
Peat bogs, meadows and marshes, Patagonian mountain forest and kelp forests.
318.6 million metric tons
Species that are vulnerable to or at risk of extinction, like the southern river otter, the humpback whale and the Common Steamer duck.
Península Mitre is located in the farthest east part of the Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, at the southern tip of Argentina. The area that is proposed for protection covers approximately 300,000 hectares of land and 200,000 hectares of sea, including the waters that surround Isla de los Estados.
This region has managed to stay almost completely intact, in its original wild and indomitable state. Its off-shore waters are a union of two oceans, the Pacific and the Atlantic, a productive commingling in which inhabit, migrate and feed numerous species that are vulnerable, threatened and in danger of extinction, like the humpback whale and the flightless steamer duck in the sea and the southern river otter on the land.
In addition, there are vestiges of the Haush indigenous culture, evidence of more than 500 shipwrecks and an infinite number of species of marine and terrestrial flora and fauna.
Why is it urgent to protect Península Mitre?
Legal protection of the Península Mitre would symbolizes a ray of hope in the face of the global climate crisis and the crisis of species extinction across the planet.
In all of Argentina, Península Mitre is the most important region for carbon sequestration —a key characteristic for the mitigation of global warming. What is its secret? The peninsula has the largest concentration of peat bogs in the country. Peat bogs are a little-known ecosystem, which globally can store more carbon than all of the forest biomass of the planet.
A project with 30 years of history
The first exploratory expedition that was done on Península Mitre took place more than 30 years ago, and during this survey the need to conserve the area was identified. The different bills that have been presented to protect the region have been transformed over time; however, all share the same spirit of conservation and the final goal to designate the peninsula as a Natural Protected Area.
Up until the present, the natural attributes and the archeological remains found there have largely been preserved. But this area faces new challenges such as theft of archaeological treasures, the pressure from exotic species, and, more than anything, the consequences of an extractive economic mode that puts at risk the very elements that make this place a unique natural area and an exceptional treasure for humanity.
YAGANES AND NAMANCURA-BANCO BURDWOOD II NATIONAL PARKS
Foto: Alejo Irigoyen
Ocean of the Continental Shelf.
90,000 square kilometers.
Important Conservation Attributes:
Extensas áreas marinas casi prístinas, que son fuente de alimento para una gran cantidad de mamíferos marinos y aves, entre ellos la ballena fin, la ballena sei, y el cachalote.
Yaganes and Namancura-Banco Burdwood II National Parks
Yaganes and Namuncurá-Banco Burdwood II were the first marine national parks created within the Argentine Marine Protected Areas System in December 2013.
The Namuncurá-Banco Burdwood II National Marine Park includes sea beds 4000 meters deep and submarine canyons that contain abundant biodiversity. This region is part of a crucial migratory route for numerous mammals and birds, who find there an important source of food on their long journeys.
Yaganes National Marine Park is largely unexplored, although there is evidence that shows the existence of undersea canyons and mountains with a high diversity of species. This is a critical feeding grounds for the sperm, sei and fin whales, as well as being one of the most pristine ecosystems on the planet.