Easter Island is a territory of Chile. In 2010, during the administration of former Chilean president Sebastian Piñera, the Motu Motiro Hiva Marine Park was created 400 kilometers (250 miles) off the coast of the island, granting official protection to approximately 150 thousand square kilometers. The park’s creation came after surveys found high levels of biodiversity in the region.
The park has attracted criticism from current governmental administrators and members of the Rapa Nui community.
“The park does not have a management plan,” Diego Flores Arrate, head of the Department of Protected Areas of the Chilean Ministry of Environment, told Mongabay Latam during the IUCN’s recent World Conservation Congress. “That impulsive administrative act [of creating the park] by the president effectively created a conflict with the Rapa Nui because they were not asked, the government did not consult them, they went ahead and created an area, something that is resented by [the Rapa Nui] until today.”
In response, more than 20 organizations consisting of fishers, gatherers, divers, farmers, artisans and conservationists submitted a marine conservation proposal to the Chilean government urging the creation of a system that they say is closer to implementation reality and the worldview of the Rapa Nui culture.
Sala y Gomez is a small Chilean island 250 miles east of Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean that is part of a highly biodiverse chain of seamounts. This area contains long-lived, deep-sea species that are vulnerable to overfishing. Fortunately in 2010, the Chilean President announced the creation of the Sala y Gomez Marine Park, a 150,000 km2 no-take marine reserve around the island.
Motu Motiro Hiva Marine Park, also known as Sala y Gomez Marine Reserve was established in 2010. This marine reserve in part of the EEZ around Chile's Sala y Gomez Islands was set aside as one of the worlds largest no-take marine reserves. Following a joint expedition in early 2011 by Oceana and National Geographic, it was announced that more than three-quarters of the fish in Sala y Gomez are endemic, and 44 percent of the seabed contains live corals. “Sala y Gómez is one of the last undisturbed and relatively pristine places left in the ocean,” said Dr. Enric Sala, a marine ecologist and National Geographic Ocean Fellow. “The island and its surrounding ocean ecosystem, which includes deep seamounts with unique marine life, have global value. These seamounts are very vulnerable to fishing activities, and this inspirational step marks Chile’s potential as a global leader in ocean conservation.”