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BUEI to host talk on Pacific marine protection scheme

BUEI (File photograph)

A key player in a drive by residents of a Pacific island to protect their waters will give a talk at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute next month.

Ludovic Burns Tuki, of Rapa Nui – known to many as Easter Island, works in marine conservation and also has a diploma in tourist destination management.

He will give a presentation about Citizen Driven Marine Protection from 3pm on June 4 as part of BUEI’s Island Sustainable Ocean Strategies series.

A BUEI spokeswoman said that in 2010, the people of Rapa Nui “rebelled against an ocean initiative created by their Government without their input”.

She explained: “Community outrage led to the formation of a coalition to ensure the health and wellbeing of the ocean surrounding the island and the culture it supported.

“The coalition identified five goals encompassing conservation efforts, education, enforcement, marine protection and shared administration efforts between the people and Government.”

The spokeswoman said the Rapa Nui Marine Protected Area, covering 286,000 square miles of Pacific Ocean, was created with the approval of 73 per cent of island voters in a September 2017 referendum.

She added: “The MPA is intended to eliminate the pressures of commercial fishing and mining on the unique and isolated ecosystem of Rapa Nui.

“Supporters of the project cite public support and participation as an encouraging sign of the reserve’s long-term potential.”

After the reserve was created, she said, the Rapa Nui people and the Government of Chile, under whose jurisdiction the island falls, formed an 11 member council made up of seven citizens and the ministers of the environment, economy, interior and defence.

The spokeswoman said the group was going through a public feedback process to shape a reserve administration plan to be completed in September.

She added: “Rapa Nui Ludovic Burns is one of the founding forces behind the movement that rebuked the Government’s initial actions and the creation of the coalition that ultimately led to the referendum and the current council tasked with implementing the five goals.”

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Published May 15, 2023 at 7:48 am (Updated May 15, 2023 at 7:26 am)

BUEI to host talk on Pacific marine protection scheme

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