6 Oct 2015

Rapa Nui marine reserve created by Chile

3:15 pm on 6 October 2015

Chile has declared more than 300,000 square kilometres of ocean around Rapa Nui or Easter Island as marine reserve

Proposed Easter Island Marine Park.

Proposed Easter Island Marine Park. Photo: The Pew Charitable Trusts

The Chilean president Michelle Bachelet says it is the third largest protected marine zone worldwide.

Ms Bachelet was addressing a conference on marine protection in Chile and was joined by representatives of the island.

The idea to create the reserve around the Chilean territory of Rapa Nui stems from concerns within the local Rapa Nui community about the impact of large-scale illegal fishing in their waters.

The Rapa Nui people had proposed a reserve which would allow only islanders to fish 80 kilometres out to sea and through a corridor to Sala y Gómez, tiny inhabited islands to the east.