Like a thick scarf, the Galápagos Marine Reserve encircles its namesake islands, protecting 133,000 square kilometers (51,400 square miles) of nutrient-rich ocean that supports nearly 3,000 marine species. But the current reserve, which was once the second-largest in the world (now ranked 33rd), is no longer enough to protect the biodiverse waters around the Galápagos Islands, according to a coalition of scientists, conservationists, NGOs and members of the public. The solution, they say, is to extend the marine reserve by an extra 445,953 km2 (172,183 mi2) — more than triple the size of the existing marine protected area. On Jan. 20, advocates for the extended marine reserve delivered a petition with more than 32,000 signatures of support to Ecuador’s president, Lenín Moreno, along with a scientific proposal that presents a configuration of the reserve that would maximize protection of the delicate ecosystems while also sustaining Ecuador’s fishing industries. The proposal, which is publicly available in Spanish on the website of the citizen initiative Más Galápagos, argues that the extended marine reserve could help avert the precipitous decline of migratory species, stave off the threat of illegal and unsustainable fishing, and even mitigate the effects of climate change, if properly managed and enforced. A green sea turtle feeds a reef in Galapagos. Image by Cristina Mittermeier / SeaLegacy. César Peñaherrera-Palma, a marine biologist, science coordinator at the NGO MigraMar and one of the proposal’s authors, said he and his colleagues had gathered data from a range of scientific and governmental sources,…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer