Date: April 7, 2016
Source: University of Washington
Summary: New regulations by the government of Ecuador to protect the waters around the Galapagos Islands as a marine preserve, including main feeding areas for Galapagos penguins.
Dee Boersma, a conservationist and professor of biology at the University of Washington, is applauding new regulations by the government of Ecuador to protect the waters around the Galapagos Islands as a marine preserve.
"It is very exciting," said Boersma, who is a finalist for the 2016 Indianapolis Prize for her decades of penguin research and conservation efforts.
"We've been working for years in the Galapagos, advising officials in Ecuador to protect the fish-rich waters that penguins and other species rely upon for food."
The decree, signed March 21 by Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, prohibits fishing, drilling or mining in key sections of the waters surrounding this precious archipelago -- a hotspot for biodiversity made famous by Charles Darwin when he proposed natural selection as a mechanism for evolution.
Under Correa's directive, approximately one-third of the waters around the Galapagos will become "no take" areas, where nothing can be extracted or harvested. The volcanic islands, which lie about 600 miles off the coast of South America, boast a rare assortment and diversity of species that evolved on this remote archipelago. Ecuadorean law already protects about 97 percent of the land that makes up the islands, but before last month's decree, only about 1 percent of Galapagos waters were "no take" areas.