Best of 2016: Historic protections for Darwin’s island laboratory

A young sea lion naps on the beach in the Galápagos Islands. A new no-fishing sanctuary within the Galápagos Marine Reserve will help the islands' wildlife and economy.

A young sea lion naps on the beach in the Galápagos Islands. A new no-fishing sanctuary within the Galápagos Marine Reserve will help the islands’ wildlife and economy. (© Rod Mast)

Editor’s note: As the end of 2016 approaches, Human Nature is revisiting some of our favorite stories of the year. To support crucial conservation work like this, consider making a donation to Conservation International.

2016 was a banner year for marine protected areas around the world, from the creation of the world’s largest marine park, to the first U.S. national monument in the Atlantic, to new commitments from Colombia and Costa Rica, to a new ocean management target for Hawai‘i. But before any of these, the world celebrated new protections for a place home to the world’s highest concentration of sharks and a landmark in the history of ecology and evolution: the Galápagos Islands.

Find out what Ecuador’s historic creation of a 39,000-square-kilometer (15,000-square-mile) marine sanctuary — with no fishing allowed — will mean for the islands’ wildlife and economy in  the original post.

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Jamey Anderson is a staff writer for Conservation International.

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