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Sala y G贸mez clears protection hurdle By Ford Cochran August 17, 2010 A Chilean Senate committee unanimously recommends making waters surrounding the remote Sala y G贸mez island a marine protected area. The waters off Sala y G贸mez--a tiny Pacific island about 250 miles east of Easter Island--have come one step closer to becoming a marine protected area with the unanimous endorsement of Chile's Senate Fisheries Committee. National Geographic Fellow Enric Sala, a marine biologist who supports no-take zones and other forms of protection for the planet's last pristine ocean ecosystems, presented the case for Sala y Gomez to members of the Senate committee before the vote. National Geographic and Oceana have partnered with Chilean scientists to research and document sea life in the largely unexplored waters surrounding the island. "Sala y G贸mez has been identified by National Geographic as a remote place that represents a valuable ecosystem which is also part of a chain of seamounts. Current information is very scarce, but sufficient to believe that we are dealing with one of the few pristine marine ecosystems left on the globe", said Sala. Preliminary reconnaissance using a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) near the island in March revealed an abundance of sea life, including densities for some

species higher than those observed near Easter Island. The research team obtained the first high

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