Prince Albert committed to the creation of marine protected areas to safeguard our oceans

Exhibition of marine reserves at Oceanographic Museum of Monaco

The Oceanographic Institute, Albert I Foundation, Prince of Monaco, supports the creation of the marine protected areas, essential for safeguarding our ocean and our ecosystem. With that objective in mind the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco (MOM) is co-hosting an exhibition with The Pew Charitable Trust, running through November 2, 2015, on Marine Protected Areas (MPA). The display includes the Marine Park in Easter Island that serves as a concrete example of the benefits of creating protected areas, together with other marine reserve projects supported by The Pew Charitable Trust in New Caledonia and French Polynesia.

HSH Prince Albert was present at the inauguration of the exhibition on October 22, 2015, to talk about his experience visiting the island earlier this month, and his view on the creation of MPA. Also present were Nicole Aussedat of the Pew Charitable Trust, and a representative from Easter Island, Ana Maria Gutierrez, associate to the Mayor of Rapa Nui, Pierre Bordry, Vice-President of the Oceanographic Institute, and members of the Board of the Friends of the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco.

The exhibition presents the specific advantages that very large marine reserves have for the oceanic environment. The Rapa Nui culture and the island’s economy are turned to the sea and the MPA will help protect their patrimony from attacks like overfishing or pollution. Symbols of this oceanic culture, ornaments with feathers and coquilles made by the women of Rapa Nui are also exposed. The exhibition will then be presented in Paris in November, in the Maison des Oceans, where the French branch of Pew Charitable Trust is installed since September 2013, within the framework of maritime ensemble put together by the Oceanographic Institute.

The Pew Charitable Trust, through their Global Ocean Legacy project, works with governments and civil society throughout the world to ensure the health of our oceans on the long term. This program finances research activities, and communication, working in close collaboration with many local partners to enable the creation of MAP. For more than a century, the Oceanographic Institute is committed to create awareness of the wealth and the fragility of the oceans and promote a sustainable management and protection, notably thank to the creation of MPA.

Our Ocean conference in Chile

In October 5 and 6, 2015 Chile hosted the second edition of Our Ocean conference in Vina del Mar, Valparaiso,  with more than 500 participants from 56 countries, including leaders from government, academia and civil society, all committed to the protection of the ocean, including John Kerry, US Secretary of State and HSH Prince Albert of Monaco, as well as philanthropist Richard Branson. The first meeting took place in Washington D.C. in June 2014 at the initiative of John Kerry bringing participants from all walks of life including actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio, representing more than 90 countries. The main goals were to find solutions to curve illegal fishing, stop marine plastic pollution, and prevent ocean acidification a consequence of climate change. Moreover, the conference wanted to encourage the creation of marine protected areas to safeguard our ecosystem.

During the conference participants announced more than 80 initiatives on marine conservation and protection valued at more than US 2.1 billion, as well as new commitments for the protection of more than 1.9 million Km2 of the ocean. Among them, Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile announced the creation of a marine protected area (MPA) of 720,000 Km2 in the exclusive economic zone of the iconic Island of Rapa Nui, better known as Easter Island, working with the Rapa Nui community, and taking into consideration their ancestral fishing practices, and in compliance with current norms established by Convention No.169 of the International Labor Organization. Once complete, this will be one of the largest marine protected areas in the world.

easter-island_mapEaster Island is a remote volcanic island, part of Chilean territory some 3,800 Km west of the capital Santiago in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It’s famed for its archaeological sites, including some 900 monumental statues, called moai, created by its early Rapa Nui inhabitants during the 10th-16th centuries. The moai are carved human figures with oversize heads, often resting on massive rock altars called ahus. Ahu Tongariki has the largest group of upright moai. It has a population of 5,761 (2012(, an area of 163.6 Km2, and the capital is Hang Roa.The inhabitants of the island, the Rapa Nui, had been petitioning the government for years for more protection of fishing stocks, to guard against the overfishing of species such as tuna and swordfish.

Carte-Le-MarinA separate park will protect other island chains, including the Pacific’s Juan Fernandez archipelago, where disputes have arisen between commercial and artisanal fishermen. “Its creation allows us to protect the biodiversity and richness of the sea surrounding the islands,” said Felipe Paredes, the mayor of Juan Fernandez, famous for being the site where the sailor said to inspire Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe was marooned in the 18th century. “Together, the parks host one of the highest densities of indigenous marine species on the planet and will cover around 1 million square km of ocean”, Bachelet said. And she added: “This is Chile’s contribution to the ocean, so that our children and grandchildren may enjoy what we are doing here.”

The Easter Island MPA project had already been discussed in the presence of insular fishing representatives during the 5th edition of the Monaco Blue Initiative (MBI), co-organized by the Prince Albert II Foundation and the Oceanographic Institute.

HSH Prince Albert of Monaco emphasized his involvement in the development of protected marine areas, and after the conference he visited Easter Island to meet the Rapa Nui community representatives, who initiated the Marine Park project, to celebrate the good news with them. Prince Albert emphasises that: “The Marine Protected Areas (MPA) are today the only perennial solution, viable for all, ecologically responsible and financially pertinent. That’s why we must develop, and do it fast, before it would be too late. We have to find the ways to go over and above our objective of 10% fixed in Aichi, even if that objective, in reality, seems difficult to achieve.”

Today’s quote

“Marine protected areas, and particularly no-take zones, are very effective in allowing regeneration of fish stocks.” Helen Clark

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