Salas y Gómez

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Recently, scientists announced the discovery of 160 marine species after exploring the Salas y Gómez region.

About Salas y Gómez

  • It is an underwater mountain chain in the Southeastern Pacific Ocean.
  • It lies in a west-east orientation. Its western end intersects the East Pacific Rise inside the Chilean Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Easter Islands and its eastern end adjoins the western end of Nazca ridge.
  • Ecosystems in this region are isolated by the Atacama Trench, the Humboldt Current System, and an extreme oxygen minimum zone.
  • Waters surrounding the Salas y Gómez and Nazca ridges are mostly located in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ), with smaller portions located in the national waters of Chile and Peru.
  • This region hosts unique biodiversity with some of the highest levels of marine endemism on Earth.
  • It is one of the many global locations under consideration for being designated as a high seas marine protected area upon the ratificiation of the UN High Seas Treaty.

Key facts about United Nations High Seas Treaty

  • It is known as the ‘Paris Agreement for the Ocean’, and the treaty to deal with Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction has been under discussion for several years.
  • The proposed treaty concerns the ocean existing beyond the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) that lie from the coast of a country to about 200 nautical miles into the sea (Countries have special rights for exploration till 200 nautical miles).
  • The treaty was to be negotiated under the United Nations Convention on Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982.

Q1: What is an Exclusive Economic Zone?

It is an area of the ocean extending up to 200 nautical miles (370 km) immediately offshore from a country's land coast in which that country retains exclusive rights to the exploration and exploitation of natural resources.

Source: Scientists find ‘pristine’ ocean mountain range with 50 unknown species