Motu Motiro Hiva Marine Park


Established:  October 6, 2010
Location:  Off the coast of Chile, approximately 250 nautical miles east of Easter Island
Size:  Approximately 150,000 km2 or 57,900 mi2

In October of 2010, the Chilean government announced the creation of a no-take marine reserve of 150,000 square kilometers (about 58,000 square miles) surrounding the small island of Sala y Gómez in the Pacific Ocean. The park, later renamed Motu Motiro Hiva Marine Park (MMHMP), expanded Chile's total marine protected area more than 100 times, from 0.03 percent to 4.41 percent of the country's territorial waters. The creation of this marine reserve stemmed from a March 2010 preliminary scientific expedition to the island of Sala y Gómez, which found abundant populations of vulnerable species such as sharks and lobsters, and revealed unexpectedly high biodiversity in deeper waters. A second expedition which took place in February 2011 revealed that 73 percent of individual fish species in Motu Motiro Hiva are endemic, and that 44 percent of the seabed contains live corals, with an excellent conservation status, that serve as habitat for several species of fish and invertebrates. Additionally, large predators like sharks, horse mackerel and yellowtail amberjacks account for 43 percent of reef fish in Motu Motiro Hiva. Researchers from the Millennium Nucleus for Ecology and Sustainable Management of Oceanic Islands (ESMOI) at Universidad Católica del Norte, National Geographic  and Oceana, have since continued doing research at Salas & Gómez and in the unprotected waters around Rapa Nui, and further evaluating the connectivity of MMHMP with Rapa Nui as a possible source of resources for helping recovery of Rapa Nui fisheries.