Chilean Fjords & Islands
With over 83,850 kilometers of coastline, and a number offshore islands, Chile’s marine territory is vast. Southern fjords offer important habitat for whales, dolphins, seals and other marine mammals, while the placid waters below host a diverse array of coral, including several species unique to the area. Chile also governs a number of small Pacific Island territories that make up the Valparaiso region. The primary islands are the Juan Fernandez Islands, Easter Island, and Desventuradas island which are home to southern fur seals and breeding grounds for the Magellanic Penguin.
All of these elements make Chile’s marine habitats among the most magnificent and biodiverse in the world. Unfortunately, these habitats are also facing a myriad of threats. One of the main threats this region faces is the intensive marine aquaculture industry, especially salmon farming, which pollutes the waters with chemicals and excessive organic matter. Aquaculture also creates threats to marine mammals, such as whales and dolphins, by increasing unregulated maritime traffic, adding sources of noise and often killings through boat strikes. Industrialization and overfishing along Chile’s coast are polluting the waters and rapidly depleting the fish population, while Juan Fernandez faces similar threats from bottom trawlers destroying reefs with their nets. In addition, invasive species threaten the general indigenous populations.