The Lighthouses of the Patagonian Sea are a selection of marine coastal and ocean areas which have outstanding ecological and oceanographic features. Maintaining the ecological integrity of these sites is a priority for the organizations that make up the Forum for the Conservation of the Patagonian Sea and Areas of Influence. These are highly valuable sites for the conservation of biodiversity, particularly for endemic or threatened species and they are important with respect to the structural and ecological functionality of the Forum's targeted ecosystem. Their conservation is also important from the economic, aesthetic, cultural and spiritual viewpoint.
For interactive maps and photos on the Lighthouses of the Patagonian Sea, click here
Colony of Black-browed Albatross in Admiralty Sound, Chile. © J. Plana
The analysis for identifying Lighthouses was based on the following biological, ecological and social criteria applied to Patagonian Sea spaces:
Rarity, singularity: Areas that contain unique, rare or endemic species, populations, communities, habitats, geomorphological or oceanographic features.
Special importance for breeding and survival of dependent species.
Threatened species or habitats: Remarkably important areas for the survival or recovery of species threatened with extinction. Areas with outstanding assemblages of threatened or endangered species.
Vulnerability, fragility, sensitivity, slow recovery: Areas that contain a high proportion of functionally fragile habitats or species (sensitive to harvesting or degradation due to human activities or natural events) or with a slow rate of recovery.
Biological Productivity: Essential areas for ecosystem food webs.
Biological diversity: Areas with a great diversity of habitats, communities or species, or a great genetic diversity.
Conservation status: Relatively pristine areas that have been exposed to low or zero levels of disturbance or degradation due to human activities.
Social and cultural importance: Important areas for the social and cultural development of nearby communities, countries or regions (outstanding cultural heritage, education or research sites, specific human communities that depend on the area, etc.)
Social-economic importance: Important areas for the social and economic development of local or regional communities (resource development, tourism, communications and transport, etc.).
Aesthetic importance: Areas with natural wonders which local communities and the world consider of inspirational value.
To date, twenty two sites have been identified of which thirteen are in the South Atlantic while the remaining nine are in the South Pacific. The majority belong exclusively to one country: one to Uruguay, eight to Argentina and nine to Chile. Two areas are bi-national. Three South Atlantic sites include international waters. With respect to the level of protection, seven are partially included in marine or coastal-marine protected areas. In all the protected areas, implementation of conservation measures is in its early stages.
Map of the Lighthouses of the Patagonian Sea. © Valeria Falabella (WCS)
1. Cerro Verde and Islas de la Coronilla
2. Río de la Plata Marine System
3. El Rincón Marine-Coastal System
4. Península Valdés Oceanic Front
5. Gulfs of Northern Patagonia
6. North of the Golfo San Jorge
7. Magellanic Penguin Corridor
8. Agujero Azul (Blue Hole)
9. Shelf-break Front
10. Isla Pingüino
11. Malvinas / Falklands Ecoregion
12. Burdwood Bank
13. Isla de los Estados (Staten Island) and Beagle Channel
14. Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn)
15. Bahia Lomas
16. Strait of Magellan
17. Seno Almirantazgo (Admiralty Sound)
18. Francisco Coloane
19. Isla Madre de Dios
20. Wellington Island Oceanic Front
21. Caleta Tortel
22. Golfo Corcovado – Isla Guafo
Forum statements, activities and publications are without prejudice to the views of governments on sovereignty in the region. Contents of this Website are of scientific nature and they do not imply any opinion or position with respect to sovereignty issues, nor do they jeopardize any state or international organization’s opinion regarding the boundaries and legal status of maritime areas or territories in relation to the area of interest. The Falklands (Malvinas) archipelago is named in this Website under Editorial Directive ST/CS/SER.A/42 issued in August 3, 1999 by the Secretariat of the United Nations. “A dispute exists between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Malvinas)”.