Sunday, February 5, 2023

Colombian paradise in which sharks are the guardians of the sea

The island of Malpelo, an oasis in the middle of the Pacific, is an example of how a job well done pays off: at a time when the world is facing a serious biodiversity crisis, this Colombian jewel of flora and fauna It is a refuge for fauna—especially for sharks, key to the health of the oceans—where science is also carried out and even sustainable ecotourism is allowed.

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An “oasis” of the Pacific

Malpelo Island is an “oasis” in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Sandra Besudo, who has devoted her life to working in the area, tells CNN: It is “the top of a unique underwater volcanic ridge, whose The walls descend to 4,000 m.The deepest and highest part is 300 m above sea level.

The island is home to a rich biodiversity. For example, Nazca is home to the largest population of boobies, as well as endemic species of lizards and crabs. There are coral formations beneath the water and, associated with this ecosystem, species of reef fish. And they also house several species of sharks – hammerheads, silkys, whales – that are vital to the conservation of the oceans.

Today, all this life is heavily protected. But it was not always like this.

“As I saw miracles, so I saw destruction”

Besudo is a diver. She first arrived at Malpelo Island in 1987 and was amazed. “I fell in love with the place,” he says, “but I also started noticing that the fishing boats were pulling in all their wealth.” At the time it was not a protected area and “as I saw miracles, I also saw destruction,” he says.

Then he decided: he would do everything in his power to protect her.

They started collecting signatures to request the government to declare it a protected area. She joined as the head of the flora and fauna sanctuary there, but realized she did not have the necessary resources. He then went a step further and created the Malpelo Foundation and other marine ecosystems to acquire the resources that would allow it to provide the care it needs.

The efforts of organizations such as Bessudo’s, which have worked in alliance with the government, have yielded results: today Malpelo Island – considered a World Heritage Site since 2006 – is on UNESCO’s Green List of areas that have been adequately protected has gone. ,

“The united work among all has allowed us to take the necessary actions to carry out research and monitoring, communication and environmental education, to have a sustainable ecotourism and, with good practices, the implementation of all those actions Getting financial resources is what needs to be done in a protected area,” he explains.

main role of shark

Malpelo Island is “an ecosystem with life both on land and under water,” Besudo says. And all the living creatures that live in it, from plankton to larger species such as sharks, contribute to the health of water by providing great services, including oxygen: although we always associate trees with the generation of oxygen, water is also a source of this important Element. About half of the planet’s oxygen is produced in the oceans. And a large part of that oxygen in the oceans is produced by plankton.

But the very existence of sharks is under grave threat.

There are countries that allow the export of fins from some shark species to supply Asian markets where soups with this ingredient are eaten, considered a delicacy, or for the use of cartilage in the cosmetics industry, basudo. telling.

The statistics are clear: according to WWF’s 2022 Living Planet Report, the abundance of 18 of the 31 known species of oceanic sharks and rays has decreased by 71% over the past 50 years. Accordingly, the threat of extinction increased severely. In 1980, nine species were at risk of extinction, according to the organization; By 2020, this number reached 24.

“An ocean without sharks is not a healthy ocean,” Besudo explains. They are “great regulators” of the health of the oceans, for example, they feed on other sick specimens, “preventing epidemics in the ocean.”

The presence of sharks on the island is the best indicator of good care.

Science and technology at the service of Malpelo Island

One of the Malpelo Foundation’s objectives for the future is to continue supporting scientific expeditions in the field. “Science is what allows us to have information on everything, so that governments can make the best possible decisions,” Besudo said. And he continues: “We’re looking for sea mountains. These are mountains that are under the sea, that have a huge amount of life and that we know very little about.”

His foundation’s work, which focuses specifically on sharks and pelagic species — those that live in mid-water or near the surface — also uses cutting-edge technology. For example, they use satellite telemetry and acoustic telemetry to understand the movements and migrations of these species.

And this has led them to understand that the work cannot be confined to one island or one country because species migrate beyond national boundaries. He explains that this information allows him to promote the creation of new marine protected areas.

our working hours

Bessudo is convinced that everyone can contribute to the protection of the planet and gives three daily examples of possible actions: use water responsibly, avoid unnecessary electricity consumption and dispose of our waste properly.

“It is only acting. We can no longer continue to talk, talk, talk… It is time to act,” he concluded.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Deskhttps://nationworldnews.com
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