New Marine Protected Area Established off Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula

Nalychevo Nature Park, Russia – Responding to a 4 year long effort by World
Wildlife Fund, officials from the Kamchatka regional government have
announced the creation of a new 76-square mile Marine Protected Area (MPA)
adjacent to the Nalychevo Nature Park on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the
Russian Far East. The new MPA stretches from the mouth of Nalychev River to
the Vakhil River – about 12 miles along the coast.

"This is an important victory for conservation in the Bering Sea," said
Margaret Williams, director of the Bering Sea ecoregion program at World
Wildlife Fund. "Like many parts of the Bering Sea, this area faces threats
from overfishing and poaching which this MPA will protect against."

Like a wilderness area on land, a Marine Protected Area is a place where
part or all of the natural and cultural resources are protected against
exploitation. MPAs benefit fishermen because they protect breeding grounds,
allowing commercial species to grow larger and breed more successfully. In
the Nalychevo MPA fishing and hunting for marine mammals and birds is banned
without a special permit. Because illegal fishing is a major problem on the
Russian side of the Bering Sea, rangers will patrol the Nalychevo MPA to
protect against poaching.

"Unlike parks on land, Marine Protect Areas are still a relatively new
concept for most people even though some marine areas are clearly more
important than others and obviously deserving of protection. The Nalychevo
MPA will be a model for other areas in Russia and elsewhere around the
world," continued Williams.

The Nalychevo MPA and Nature Park contain habitat for numerous species of
birds and marine mammals including brant goose, Steller's sea eagles,
white-tailed eagles, five species of Pacific salmon, and rare species of
char salmon.

World Wildlife Fund helped create both the Nalychevo Nature Park and the
MPA. Among other things WWF provided funding to build housing for park
rangers who police the area for poachers. WWF also funded a park employee
to advocate for the creation of the MPA.

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