• The initiative, promoted by Fundación Rompientes and partners, encourages the protection of over 10,000 acres located on the central coast of Chile.
• This approved sanctuary area is known for its unique scenic beauty, rich biodiversity and the traditional ecological knowledge of the community who practice sustainable kelp harvesting.
• World class surf breaks located in the area of the Topocalma and Puertecillo beaches are also included in the Sanctuary.
In a moment of victory for conservation of surf ecosystems, the creation of Piedra del Viento Coastal Marine Sanctuary has been officially approved by the Council of Ministers for Sustainability (CMS) in Chile. Located on Chile’s central coast, the newly protected area is a direct result of the partnership of Fundación Rompientes and Save The Waves Coalition.
The Piedra del Viento Coastal Marine Sanctuary is one of the first protected areas to consider wave protection and surfing into the planning process and management plan in Chile. It is one of the first surf ecosystems to be listed under Save The Waves’ Surf Protected Area Networks program and includes classic surf spots Topocalma and Puertocillo.
Within Latin America, Save The Waves is working with our grassroots partners to establish a systematic approach to preserve surf ecosystems through the creation of Surf Protected Areas Networks, which focus on regions where high quality surfing waves and priority marine ecosystems overlap.
In Chile, this coastal area stands out for its scenic beauty and rich biodiversity. The Sanctuary is a habitat of various endemic and endangered species, as well as a resting, refuge and breeding area for coastal and migratory birds, with the Topocalma wetland as critical habitat for migratory birds.
Save The Waves hopes that the Piedra del Viento Coastal Marine Sanctuary will be an inspiration as a new approach to marine and coastal conservation around the world.
Environmental Conservation and Sustainable Development
Along the coast of Chile, Fundación Rompientes has identified over 100 high quality surf breaks. These places are being affected by rapid real estate development and, for the first time in Chile, surf breaks are included as a conservation objective.
The Sanctuary will protect approximately 10,000 acres of coastal, marine and land area, as well as six surf breaks (including Puertecillo and Topocalma) and biodiverse wetlands.
This declaration of the Sanctuary also preserves and promotes the cultural heritage related to the practice of collecting seaweed from the shoreline which dates back 300 years. The practice and traditional knowledge of artisanal fishing and kelp-harvesting activities are integral to the surf ecosystem.
“This sanctuary represents a significant effort to add value to an area that is scarcely represented in terms of conservation in the country,” explains Juan Buttazzoni, co-director of Fundación Rompientes, an institution that has been working for more than three years to promote the creation of this Sanctuary.
Felipe Rodríguez, also co-director Fundación Rompientes, explains that the promotion of conservation of marine ecosystems is essential for the livelihood of the coastal and local communities in the area. “The declaration of a Coastal Marine Sanctuary is only the first step to recognize the invaluable characteristics of this place. The plan moving forward is to conserve biodiversity and promote sustainable development of the area.”
This victory is due in large part to the support of fishermen unions, local communities and Fundación Rompientes, which has been supported by Save The Waves Coalition, Marine Conservation Institute, Patagonia, Fundación Mar Adentro and the Chilean Ministry of the Environment (Division of Natural Resources and Biodiversity, and the Department of Protected Areas).
About Save The Waves Coalition:
Founded in 2003, Save The Waves is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting surf ecosystems around the world. For more information please visit www.savethewaves.org
About Fundación Rompientes
Fundación Rompientes is a non-profit marine conservation organization dedicated to the protection of coastal areas where there are breaking waves suitable for sports.
For more information on the proposal visit: http://rompientes.org/santuariopiedradeviento/
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