MOU identifies opportunities for new marine management models

New York (October 19, 2010) – The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC Chile) and the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) to share ideas and experiences in establishing and managing protected marine areas.

The MoU was signed by Dr. Bárbara Saavedra, Director of WCS’s Chile Program, Juan Larrain, Vice President of Research at UC Chile, and Michael Witherell, Vice Chancellor for Research at UCSB on Friday, September 24. The MoU provides a framework of collaboration in exchanging best practices in creating innovative marine management systems and new models of sustainable use. The intended result is a more efficient system of management for marine resources and enhanced enhancing marine conservation in the Southern Cone, or the southernmost nations in South America.

Chile has implemented a novel system of exclusive territorial use rights for utilization of marine resources, called management areas.  Researchers at UC Chile played a central role in the generation and implementation of this model that integrates scientific knowledge and the fishing community into the management process, while their colleagues at UCSB have played a crucial role in the design and implementation of successful protected marine areas in California.  WCS is leading a unique conservation initiative in Southern Chile at Karukinka, which serves as a natural laboratory for developing and testing new models for enhancing marine conservation in the Southern Cone.

“Conservation of marine areas depends on the efficient management of the resources we take from them, and to do so effectively requires collaboration,” said Avecita Chicchón, WCS’s Latin America and Caribbean Program Director. “WCS welcomes the opportunity to partner with the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and the University of California-Santa Barbara to make sure wildlife and wild places around the world are protected by good management practices.”

Specifically, the MoU identifies several potential areas of collaboration between WCS and the signatory universities, including:

  • Creation of innovative and multifunctional models for marine protected areas that involve public-private cooperation;
  • Development of training programs for the management of marine conservation areas and involving relevant stakeholders such as fishermen, public officials and private sector representatives.
  • Cooperation in higher education for the creation of scientific and technical capabilities to support conservation and management; and
  • Analysis of innovative financing mechanisms to implement marine conservation areas and networks.

WCS will contribute expertise gained from the Karukinka Project in Tierra del Fuego and 40 years of work on the Patagonian Atlantic coast in developing these innovative science-based conservation models and advancing new marine management plans in Chile and the Southern Cone.

Stephen Sautner: (1-718-220-3682;
John Delaney: (1-718-220-3275;

The Wildlife Conservation Society
saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.  

Special Note to the Media: If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a web link where they can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to: