Map of the Patagonian Sea – © V. Falabella (WCS)
We identify the Patagonian Sea as the area around the Southern Cone of South America which is made up of waters from the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The movement of waters resulting from tides and marine currents such as the Falklands (Malvinas), Brazil and Cape Horn currents connects areas that are far apart while transporting living organisms. The Patagonian Sea with its areas of influence stretches from southern Brazil to Tierra del Fuego in the Atlantic, whereas in the Pacific it stretches up to the channels and fjords in southern Chile. This enormous ecosystem of at least 3,000,000 Km2, comprises coastal environments, islands, submarine plains, submerged slopes and deep abysses from the surface to the seabed. The Patagonian Sea includes large scale and productive oceanic fronts. It also comprises important fisheries as well as foraging and migration areas for turtles, seabirds and marine mammals. From the political angle it includes provincial jurisdictions, territorial seas, exclusive economic zones of various countries and international waters or high seas.
Why should we concern ourselves with such a vast transnational marine area? Because the oceanographic and ecological processes of these seas take place over very extense sectors. Marine currents and fauna movements cross political boundaries. In order to promote conservation of this ocean area we have to think in large scale terms and encourage cooperation among countries, organizations, scientists and authorities.