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Humboldt Penguin Protected Areas Network

Humboldt Penguin Protected Areas Network

Proposal of the Fundación Melimoyu 2019

Participants

Head of Project Environmental Research Center Scientific Advice Editing Advice Geographic Information System Advice Illustrations, Photographs and Layout Architecture Administration

Carlos Cuevas - Fundación Melimoyu Karen Rohn, Isabel Torres, Patricia Arriagada - PROED Arturo Silva, Gian Paolo Sanino, Rodrigo Alarcón Rafael Valenzuela, Mario Mikin - Fundación Melimoyu Iván Ricouz Rafael Edwards, Claudio Bravo, Laura Feldguer, Gráfica Interactiva INFINISKY Jerónimo Cuevas, Magdalena Cuevas - Fundación Melimoyu

Fundación Melimoyu all rights reserved. First Edition, June 2019. Printed in Chile by Ograma Impresores.

Humboldt Penguin Protected Areas Network

Proposal of the Fundación Melimoyu 2019

Increase from 16,000 hectares to 396,000 hectares in marine and terrestrial areas for protection of the Humboldt penguin socio-ecosystem through:

1) Expansion of the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve to the Pájaros Islets;2) Expansion of the Islas Chañaral Marine Reserve and the Islas Choros-Damas Marine Reserve;3) Creation of the Pájaros Islets Marine Reserve;4) Creation of the Humboldt Penguin Multi-Use Coastal Marine Protected Area.

Photograph Rafael Edwards - Fundación Melimoyu

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Fundación Melimoyu

Fundación Melimoyu is a Chilean non-profit organization established in 1993 by Carlos Cuevas Cueto for the creation of protected areas. In its quarter-century of work in Chilean Patagonia, Fundación Melimoyu has promoted the creation of 1 million hectares of terrestrial and marine protected areas of both a public and private nature, including national parks, national reserves, marine parks, marine reserves, multi-use coastal marine protected areas, nature sanctuaries and private reserves.

Its key achievements are the creation of the terrestrial Melimoyu and Corcovado National Parks, the Tictoc Marine Park and the Pitipalena-Añihué Multi-Use Coastal Marine Protected Area. It also advised Tompkins Conservation on the creation of the Pumalín and Patagonia National Parks and the reclassification of the Kawésqar and Cerro Castillo National Reserves as National Parks. In addition, it participated in the creation of the private Tantauco Park and the Añihué Reserve.

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Marine fauna. Ilustration Rafael Edwards-Fundación Melimoyu

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Contents

Prologue ............................................................................8 1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ............................................................11

2. ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL BASELINE ..........................................17

2.1. PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT .....................................................19 2.1.1. Geography ..............................................................20 2.1.2. Climate .................................................................20 2.1.3. Oceanography ..........................................................22

2.2. BIOTIC ENVIRONMENT ........................................................25 2.2.1. Marine mammals ........................................................26 2.2.2. Birds ....................................................................33 2.2.3. Intertidal, subtidal and pelagic communities ..............................40 2.2.4. Phytoplankton and zooplankton..........................................45 2.2.5. Terrestrial flora ..........................................................47 2.2.6. Terrestrial fauna .........................................................52

2.3. CHARACTERIZATION OF LOCALITIES ...........................................57 2.3.1. Background ............................................................58 2.3.2. Characterization of localities .............................................61

2.4. USE OF THE TERRITORY. .......................................................69 2.4.1. Commercial shipping ...................................................71 2.4.2. Industrial and semi-industrial fishing .....................................72 2.4.4. Tourism .................................................................77 2.4.5. Energy, mining and port projects with approval and under construction ..78 2.4.6. Mining and road projects under evaluation and other future projects ......80 2.4.7. Protected natural areas ..................................................81 2.4.8. Coastal Marine Areas of Indigenous Peoples (ECMPOs) ....................85 2.4.9. Underwater archaeological heritage .....................................85 2.4.10. Current zoning of the coast .............................................85

3. GENERAL MANAGEMENT PLAN ...................................................87

3.1. ZONING......................................................................89 3.1.1. Zoning criteria...........................................................91 3.1.2. Zoning proposal ........................................................98 3.1.3. Regulation ........................................................... 100

3.2. PLAN FOR THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF ARTISANAL FISHING ......... 111 3.2.1. Objectives ............................................................ 113 3.2.2 General considerations ................................................ 113

3.3. MONITORING AND RESEARCH PLAN ........................................ 115 3.3.1. Objectives ............................................................ 116 3.3.2. Lines of research ...................................................... 116

3.4. ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION PROGRAM ................................... 119 3.4.1. Thematic displays...................................................... 122 3.4.2. Design of exhibition ................................................... 126

3.5. RESTORATION PLAN ........................................................ 131 3.5.1. General considerations ................................................ 132 3.5.2. Lines of work .......................................................... 136

3.6. SHARED GOVERNANCE PROGRAM........................................... 139 3.6.1. Criteria ................................................................ 141 3.6.2. Community participation .............................................. 142 3.6.3. General program activities ............................................. 142

REFERENCES ...................................................................... 145

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Prologue

In the past five years, two very important events for the conservation of nature have occurred in Chile: the creation of 140,000,000 hectares of marine protected areas around islands that form part of the country (Easter Island and the Salas y Gómez, Juan Fernández, Nazca, Desventuradas and Diego Ramírez Islands) and a 4,000,000-hectare expansion of the network of terrestrial national parks in Patagonia.

The latter was achieved through the reclassification by the National Forest Service (CONAF) of 2.5 million hectares of national reserves as national parks, the allocation of 1 million hectares by the Ministry of State Properties and the donation of nearly 0.5 million hectares by Tompkins Conservation. As a result, Chile protects 44% of its maritime territory, located mainly in its Exclusive Economic Zone, and 20% of its continental area, mostly in Patagonia.

However, despite these impressive figures, the country’s international commitments in this field have not yet been met. Aichi Target N° 11 of the International Convention on Biological Diversity, which Chile has ratified, states that: "By 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water areas and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscape and seascape.”

Photograph Rafael Edwards- Fundación Melimoyu

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We are, therefore, pleased to have protected Insular Chile and Patagonia and to be contributing to the international agenda on climate change. However, much remains to be done as regards the national agenda. In two-thirds of the country – central and northern Chile where 97% of the population lives – only 1% of the area is protected. Protected areas have been created in remote and inaccessible parts of the country that are the best preserved, with little or no human population and no significant threats Until now, Chile has not succeeded in making environmental protection compatible with economic development and social equity through a model of sustainable management of the coastline and the 12 nautical miles of territorial waters.

The experience of other countries with decades of advantage on marine protection shows that different categories of protected areas assembled and operating together as mosaics are the most efficient, lasting and adaptive tool for conservation. Through this approach, it is possible to zone and organize territories, protect endangered species, reduce conflicts about use, create opportunities for research and education and develop sustainable commercial and recreational activities whilst also seeking to ensure the ongoing availability of resources and environmental services for communities.

Some of the world’s most famous parks, such as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia or the Santa Barbara Channel Islands marine reserves in California, have management and administration plans. These plans include different legal types of marine protected areas, with differing levels of protection that range from areas of strict conservation to more flexible ones where the fishing, shipping, port and oil industries and even naval activities are regulated using spatial planning.

The ecological importance of the Coquimbo and Atacama Regions, where this proposal is located, is at odds with their low level of protection. There are eight marine protected areas, covering an area of 10,622 hectares, which represent 0.03% of this marine ecoregion: the Isla Grande de Atacama Multiple-Use Marine Protected Area (3,839 ha.), the Chañaral Island Marine Reserve (2,890 ha.) and the Choros-Damas Islands Marine Reserve (3,863 ha.). The other five areas are very small, covering between 1 and 15 hectares. In the terrestrial part of the two regions, there are five national parks, one national reserve and one natural monument, with a total area of 163,718 hectares, equivalent to 1% of the area of both regions.

The most recent marine and terrestrial protected areas in the Coquimbo and Atacama Regions were created 13 and 24 years ago, respectively. Later, in 2010 and 2017, the creation of the La Higuera Multi-Use Coastal Marine Protected Area, covering some 340,000 hectares was proposed, but was not approved by the Council of Ministers for Sustainability. This Council has been in operation since 2010 and is chaired by the Minister of the Environment and comprises the Ministers of Agriculture, Finance, Health, Economy, Development and Reconstruction, Energy, Public Works, Housing and Urban Development, Transport and Telecommunications, Mining and Planning. Each minister has a power of veto and decisions must, therefore, be unanimous.

This is difficult to achieve, particularly for proposals that seek to harmonize protected areas with use by the fishing, mining or energy industries. The dichotomy "protection versus development" or, in other words, the belief that both activities are incompatible is not confined to industry but is found transversally, even in environmental organizations. This largely explains the small number of protected areas in places with the most significant industrial activity.

As is well known, 90% of the life of the oceans occurs in the shallow waters near the coast. This is very evident in Chile where the cold Humboldt Current’s upwelling phenomenon facilitates the transport of nutrients to the surface for phytoplankton, thereby fertilizing the ecosystem. It is obviously in the coastal areas of higher biological productivity where the interests of protection and production overlap.

We hope that our proposal will be reviewed and enriched with new contributions. We believe it can be processed successfully because it addresses the questions that arose in

the previous process, related mainly to governance or, in other words, the participation of the region and the private sector in the discussion of a Sustainable Management Plan.

There is, however, another more pressing reason for protecting this area. The Humboldt penguin population has declined very rapidly in the last ten years, as shown by the different censuses that have been carried out. Although more research is required, the evidence indicates that this endangered species coexists with rapidly changing climatic conditions that make it much more vulnerable to the risks associated with intense trawling and purse seine fishing which affect its diet and cause its entanglement in nets. Other activities may also be interfering with this species, such as the traffic of 2,000 boats per year, which pass very close to the islands, and the extraction of large volumes of algae.

The main conclusion of this report is that the marine reserves of the Chañaral, Choros and Damas Islands and the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve do not suffice to protect the area’s listed species. The critical habitat of the Humboldt penguin and the populations of resident and visiting whales and dolphins, therefore, requires the expansion of existing protected areas and the creation of new ones.

In line with this, the proposal is for a network of protected areas. It includes the expansion of the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve to the Pájaros Islets; an expansion of the marine reserves of the Chañaral, Choros and Damas Islands from 1 to 5 nautical miles; the creation of a Pájaros Islets Marine Reserve of 5 nautical miles; and the creation of a multi-use coastal marine protected area as a regulated and monitored buffer zone.

With contributions from the private and public sectors and some international environmental organizations, the proposal envisages the design of a General Management Plan comprising five programs: sustainability of artisanal fisheries, environmental education, monitoring and research, ecological restoration and shared governance where the key to success will be the participation of local organizations.

Our relationship with the Humboldt penguin is long-standing. In the 1970s, we participated in the creation of the Pájaro Niño Sanctuary in Algarrobo on the coast of central Chile and, in the early 1990s, the creation the Puñihuil Penguin Natural Monument in Chiloé.

This study, "Humboldt Penguin Protected Areas Network", is presented in a spirit of collaboration, for its use by the government, local organizations, academia, citizens, environmental organizations and industry.

Carlos Cuevas Cueto President Fundación Melimoyu

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101. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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The proposed “Humboldt Penguin Protected Areas Network” would be located within the 12 nautical miles of territorial waters off the municipal districts of Freirina, La Higuera and La Serena, on the border between the Atacama and Coquimbo Regions. It would have an area of 396,000 hectares and would cover the coastal island system of the north of the Great Bay of Coquimbo, comprising four islands, two islets, the surrounding sea and the related coastal area. From north to south, the islands are: Chañaral (507.3 ha.), Damas (60.3 ha.), Choros (291.7 ha.), Gaviota (196 ha.); Islets: Pájaros 1 (71.6 ha.) and Pájaros 2 (15.2 ha.), 20 nautical miles south of Choros Island.

Environmental and social baseline

Due to a combination of different features of its physical environment, the area is one of outstanding productivity and biodiversity, related to the presence of the phenomenon of coastal upwelling. Because of this, it serves as a resting, feeding and breeding place for species with conservation status such as the Humboldt penguin, the Peruvian diving petrel, the marine otter and cetaceans.

It is the coexistence of the species of this great marine biodiversity that gives the sector its unique character. This is, in turn, a result of it being the interface between two large biogeographic provinces: the Peruvian and the Magellan provinces. This gives rise to a complex mosaic, unique in its richness of species.

The area that would be protected is the habitat of approximately 70% of the world population of Humboldt penguins and is home to between 352 and 560 marine species. They include cetaceans and a great variety of fish, mollusks and algae of ecological and economic importance.

The most diverse groups are formed by 122 species of birds, 27 species of marine mammals (including cetaceans) and 68 species of fish, which occupy 12 habitats of ecological importance.

The species of greatest interest are in a fragile condition. This is the case, for example, of the penguin which has its main nesting colonies in this area (Simeone, 2018).

Like the area’s coastal pod of bottlenose dolphins, these species are vulnerable to the presence of humans and have very specific feeding and/or breeding requirements.

Close interaction between the coastal basins and the sea through the phenomenon of camanchaca, a coastal fog, permits a rich biodiversity of coastal flora and wildlife. This opens up the possibility of a wider conservation area that, as well as the marine

protected area, considers the restoration of plant communities. Similarly, it is feasible to restore fauna populations, such as that of the guanaco.

This report shows that the creation of the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve in 1990 and the Chañaral Island and Choros-Damas Island Marine Reserves in 2005 has not sufficed to compensate for the growing vulnerability of the ecosystem and, in particular, of the species for whose protection they were created. This is borne out by the significant decrease in the Humboldt penguin population, which Simeone (2018) estimates may have reached around 60%.

Precisely for this reason, the proposal includes a management and conservation model that addresses the needs of both the ecosystem and the area’s coastal and inland communities, which have entirely different lifestyles. It also takes into account the historical and current use of the territory.

The critical habitats for the feeding and reproduction of the target conservation species lack appropriate protection under the current protected areas, both as regards their area and measures to regulate the activities which threaten these species. In other words, the current protected areas fail to fulfill the purpose for which they were created.

The natural vulnerability of this ecosystem and its emblematic species to the environmental changes has been exacerbated by trawler and seine fishing, even within the five miles reserved for artisanal fishing. Among other adverse effects, the fisheries compete for food with the penguins, bottlenose dolphins, Peruvian diving petrels (the smallest of the petrels) and sea otters as well as the different species of whales that visit the area seasonally to feed there.

This proposal provides relevant information about fishing in the area and the evolution of the state of the fishing resources, which constitute the diet of the target conservation species.

It also draws attention to the proximity of shipping lanes which are used by some 2,000 vessels each year. These pass less than 5 miles from Chañaral Island and Pájaros Islets, including ships leaving and entering the ports of Coquimbo and Huasco, implying a need for regulation.

In addition to existing human activities, the proposal analyzes the new port, mining and energy projects and bi-oceanic corridors envisaged in the area. These projects, some of which have already obtained approval while others are in the process of seeking it, represent a challenge on an altogether different scale. It should also be noted that the area’s Zoning Plan (PRI) envisages the installation of three ports in the La Higuera municipal district.

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The PRI, including all the modifications approved by the Regional Council (CORE) in 2018, has completed the administrative process of approval by the Office of the General Comptroller of the Republic and only its publication in the Diario Oficial (Official Gazette) is now required before it comes into force.

In order to halt the current trend towards deterioration of the ecosystem, recover its full potential, prevent future industrial impacts and positively affect the surrounding areas, it is necessary to expand the area and regulation of the existing protected areas and to create new protected areas.

General management plan

Experience shows that, in order to be effective, marine protected areas must have funded research, monitoring and environmental education programs and must engage with local organizations and provide training for the economic activities that take place in the area, all of which aspects are addressed in this proposal. There is consensus that this will only be possible through effective collaboration between the public and private sectors.

The proposal for the Humboldt Penguin Protected Areas Network has been designed on the basis of a territorial planning tool in the form of a socio-ecological technical zoning plan that takes into account all the data about the stakeholders and their use of natural resources, the protected species and their critical habitat, the ecological network and the bio-oceanographic variables that produce the conditions for the area’s remarkable biodiversity, richness and abundance.

This zoning plan provides the basis for the General Management Plan and its five components: 1) a sustainable development plan for artisanal fishing; 2) environmental education; 3) a monitoring and research plan; 4) a restoration plan; and 5) a shared governance program.

Zoning. Based on scientific knowledge and expert opinion, a geographic information system was developed as a means of describing and zoning the area, taking into account: a) the physical environment: relief, climate and oceanography; b) the biotic environment: the ecosystem’s primary productivity, the base of the food chain, the critical breeding and feeding habitats of the target conservation species; and c) use of the territory: fishing within the 5 miles reserved for artisanal fishing and within the 12 miles of territorial waters, the existing protected areas (National Reserve and Marine Reserves) and their potential for expansion, the Management Areas for the Exploitation of Benthic Resources (AMERBs) administered by local communities, the zoning of

the coastline (Regional Government), the priority conservation sites (Ministry of the Environment), the Coastal Marine Areas of Indigenous Peoples (ECMPOs), the port, mining and energy projects with approval and seeking approval and existing and projected shipping lanes.

With this zoning, based on socio-ecological criteria, it is possible to propose new territorial planning for the area in the form of the Humboldt Penguin Protected Areas Network, which would be created as follows:

1. Extension of the Chañaral Island and Choros-Damas Island Marine Reserves to a radius of 5 nautical miles;

2. Creation of a new Marine Reserve with a radius of 5 nautical miles around Pájaros 1 and 2 Islets;

3. Creation of a Multi-Use Coastal Marine Protected Area (MU-CMPA) covering the 12 miles of territorial waters;

4. Extension of the terrestrial Humboldt Penguin National Reserve to Pájaros 1 and 2 Islets.

Its main benefits would be:

a. Increased protection of the ecosystem and the protected species through the expansion of the area of the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve and the Chañaral Island and Choros-Damas Island Marine Reserves and the creation of a Multi-Use Coastal Marine Protected Area (MU-CMPA) that encompasses these reserves;

b. Respect for the current uses associated with the Management Areas for the Exploitation of Benthic Resources (AMERBs), the Coastal Marine Areas of Indigenous Peoples (ECMPOs) and Coastal Zoning;

c. Elimination of trawler fishing within the 5 miles reserved for artisanal fishing and its restriction to certain periods of the year between 5 and 12 miles;

d. Elimination of authorizations or penetration permits for industrial fishing within the 5 miles reserved for artisanal fishing;

e. Establishment of a zone of special use by shipping, away from the critical habitat of birds and cetaceans;

f. Regulation and organization of wildlife tourism;

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Photograph Rafael Edwards - Fundación Melimoyu

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g. Channeling of resources for an independent scientific research of excellence with a field of applied research that includes monitoring of the critical feeding and breeding habitats of the protected species and the study of benthic resources and algae;

h. Provision of resources for the construction and operation of a Visitors’ Center for local tourism;

i. Provision of resources to restore coastal vegetation and the coastal guanaco population;

j. Proposal for a shared governance model for the Marine Protected Area.

The proposal for the Humboldt Penguin Protected Areas Network has five main lines of development that permit the necessary adjustment to changes in environmental conditions and would improve the area’s current status through the study, design, publication, dissemination and monitoring of technical tools for its sustainable management.

1. Sustainable Development Plan for Artisanal Fishing. The objective of this plan is to promote the sustainable development of artisanal fishing through the generation, socialization, application and continuous improvement of techniques for the rational management of fisheries and benthic natural resources. This plan includes actions that facilitate the sustained economic development of artisanal fishing, maintaining and, if possible, increasing the populations of the managed species whilst also adding value to the resulting products. The plan considers the construction of a pre-processing plant with cold chain assurance. By delivering their daily catch to the plant, the fishermen would avoid losses and dependence on intermediaries who only buy fresh products in the extraction zones.

3. Environmental Education Program. A proposed Visitors’ and Environmental Education Center would use photographs, illustrations, infographics, panels, installations, videos, brochures and samples of flora and fauna to inform nearby communities and visitors about the HPPAN’s conservation objectives, equipping them to detect and understand environmental problems, involving the whole community and fostering interest in visiting the protected area.

4. Restoration Plan. This plan for recovery of the native vegetation formations of the coastal mountain range would take advantage of the coastal fog, known as camanchaca, to capture water. It would also seek to improve goat management techniques as means of permitting growth of the local population of coastal guanacos and recovering degraded land. In the marine environment, the integration of information and the application of sustainable management techniques are expected to permit recovery of overexploited zones and the detection and/or control of invasive species.

5. Shared Governance Program. Under this program, a public-private committee, representing shared governance of the area, would be responsible for administering the General Management Plan. It would have a Board on which the following are represented: (a) Ministry of the Environment; b) Undersecretariat for Fisheries; (c) Armed Forces (marine territory); (d) Regional Government; (e) Municipal Government; (f ) artisanal fishing sector; g) industrial fishing sector; (h) holders of marine concessions; and (i) representatives of NGOs whose objective is the protection of oceans and marine species.

2. Monitoring and Research Plan. The proposal considers the development of a research plan to complement and deepen knowledge about the behavior of bio‐oceanographic variables in the area and the dynamics of the populations of the threatened species. In parallel, anthropogenic activities in the area will be monitored to detect and report potential contamination events associated with human activity. The research and monitoring plan will promote partnerships through agreements with national institutions of excellence such as research centers and/or related universities as well as national and international government agencies interested in the conservation and management of fishing resources and emblematic species. These partnerships would provide resources for the collection and analysis of data in each line of research which will be channeled from different sources, nationally and internationally.

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