Whales in Chilean Waters Could Be Declared National Monuments
An initiative by various senators in Chile could see the gentle giants of the sea that reside in Chilean waters fully protected by a rigid series of regulations.
SANTIAGO — For years, the population of whales that inhabit Chilean waters has been declining, but that could all be about to change. Three of the country’s Senators have declared the whales as national monuments and recently presented an initiative that seeks to safeguard the numbers of majestic marine animals and give them full protection against any form of commercial fishing.
The initiative, drawn up by Senators Antonio Horvath, Guildo Girardi, and Alejandro Navarro, would create a series of measures designed to protect the quality of the Chilean waters, be it from pollution or increasing numbers of tourist boats, as well as increase the status of the whales to that of national monuments and strictly outlaw any interfering with the whales in commercial fishing waters.
Whaling has been a serious problem in the Southern Pacific over recent decades and has led to a dramatic decrease in the population of whales in Chilean waters, due to indiscriminate killing of the marine mammals. In an attempt to restore some of their numbers, the Chilean government recently changed the ban on whaling that was in effect until 2025 to a permanent one.
Currently in Chile there are several Coastal and Marine Protected Areas (AMCP). These include: the Parque Nacional Francisco Coloane, in the Magallanes Region; the Caldera AMCP, in the Atacama Region; and the Bahía Mansa, in the Los Lagos Region.
The Parque Nacional Francisco Coloane, encompasses around 1,080 square kilometers, and in contradiction on the overall decline in whale population, has actually seen a significant increase in humpback and Antarctic minke whales over the last few years.