The largest marine park in the Americas will soon protect the waters around Chile. Announced by President Michelle Bachelet of Chile, the forthcoming Nazca-Desventuradas Marine Park will encompass a whopping 114,872 square miles of ocean. Applauded by non-profit Oceana, the new marine park will protect 12 percent of Chile’s marine surface area from environmental destruction.

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Chile is known as one of the world’s largest fishing countries, making the creation of the Nazca-Desventuradas Marine Park a monumental turning point in global ocean conservation. The Desventuradas is known as one of the world’s most pristine and diverse marine environments, explored and documented extensively in 2013 by researchers, scientists and photographers from Oceana and National Geographic. The expedition revealed gorgeous imagery of the regions’ marine life, vast oceanic terrains, and lurid underwater plant life.

Related: New Zealand is about to create one of the world’s largest marine reserves

Rich kelp forests, underwater mountains, booming fish populations, beautiful coral reefs and deep sea sharks were captured on camera by National Geographic photographers, illustrating the need to protect this area from fishing and further development. Aside from conservation, the marine park proposal will also help to rebuild depleted fisheries and lobster populations in the Juan Fernandez community.

The creation of the Nazca-Desventuradas Marine Park will help to preserve the rich biodiversityof South America, acting as a conservation and research center for the scientific communities of the world. By protecting this region from overfishing and pollution, the marine park will help to make steps against the effects of climate change and mass species extinction.

+ National Geographic

+ Oceana