The effort to protect the Galapagos Islands realized a major milestone on January 14 when Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso signed a decree to conserve a water area of 23,000+ square miles/~60,000 km2 around the Galapagos Islands.
The new Hermandad Marine Reserve expands the Galapagos Marine Reserve by ~50% and extends northwest to the maritime border with Costa Rica. This swath of ocean is expected to safeguard a migratory corridor popular as the Cocos-Galapagos Swimway, used by sea turtles, whales, sharks, rays, and other marine species.
Lindblad Expeditions has had a connection to the islands, ever since Lars-Eric Lindblad brought the first explorers to the archipelago and funded the first Galapagos Park Rangers.
Lindblad’s founder and Co-Chair of the Board, Sven Lindblad, who visited the Galapagos for the first time in 1967 as a 17-year-old, was honored to witness the historic moment alongside Gustavo Manrique, Ecuador’s Minister of Environment, Water and Ecological Transition; President Ivan Duque of Colombia; former President Bill Clinton; Dr.Sylvia Earle, NatGeo Explorer in Residence, and other dignitaries.
After the ceremony, Sven Lindblad noted that was "a really valuable and important step for marine protection."
"And hopefully these extensions will only get larger and larger over time. It’s been a tremendous joy. People have come from all over the world to celebrate what Galapagos has done. These islands are a jewel of our planet.”