Site: Abrolhos National Park
What is your personal relation to the natural coastal or marine site you represent?
Abrolhos Marine National Park is an exuberant archipelago in Brazil that attracts many tourists every year, especially because of the whale watching activities. It is a unique site, where you can have a strong contact with nature almost untouched. For me, that has always lived in a big city, the contact with Abrolhos and its rich biodiversity made me realize the importance of conservation and decide to focus my studies in this field. In 2010 I conducted a research about marine underwater noise pollution and its impacts on marine mammals. Because of this research I became aware of the dangers to which Abrolhos Marine National Park is exposed. Since than, I have been advocating for a better protection of this important site.
What are the specific problems and threats of your natural coastal or marine site?
The main problem that Abrolhos is facing at the moment is the possibility of offshore petroleum exploration in its surroundings. Exploration’s Authorizations have already been granted to areas closed to the archipelago. Abrolhos was the first Brazilian Marine National Park, established in 1983. Today, the area of the Marine National Park comprises only 2% of the whole site, therefore, the archipelago is not properly protected. When created, the area wasn’t exposed to the same problems that it is today and the conservation techniques were being developed, thus, it is necessary to modify the protected area, expanding it. The offshore petroleum exploration is a risky activity that cannot be conducted close to a sensitive area, it represents a threat to Abrolho’s biodiversity. Besides this particular problem, the area is also facing problems because of the tourism and overfishing.
Why do you think is it important to safeguard your natural coastal or marine site?
Abrolhos was the first Marine National Park established in Brazil, in 1983, because of its biodiversity and exuberance. It is the most important marine area of the South Atlantic in what regards biodiversity. The biggest and most exuberant coral reef of the South Atlantic is located in Abrolhos. The archipelago is also the home to over 1300 invertebrates, fishes, turtles, seabirds and marine mammals. Of these species, 45 are considered threatened under IUCN Red List. Abrolhos attracts thousands of tourists every year, especially because it is the breeding area for humpback whales, which were almost extinct by commercial whaling.