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Lindblad Expeditions hails Galápagos Marine Reserve expansion

From left, Ecuador Environment Minister Gustavo Manrique, President Ivan Duque of Colombia, President Guillermo Lassa of Ecuador, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Sven Lindblad, Ecuador Tourism Minister Niels Olsen Peet, former US President Bill Clinton
The decades-long effort to protect the Galápagos realized an important milestone Friday when Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso signed a decree to conserve more than 23,000 square miles of ocean around the islands and beyond.

The new Hermandad Marine Reserve expands the current Galápagos Marine Reserve by almost 50% and extends northwest to the Costa Rican maritime border. This swath of ocean will safeguard a migratory corridor known as the Cocos-Galápagos Swimway, which is used by sea turtles, sharks, whales, rays and many other marine species.

Presidents, ministers, Sylvia Earle

Sven Lindblad, founder and co-chair of Lindblad Expeditions, was on hand for the Jan. 14 signing alongside Gustavo Manrique, Ecuador’s minister of environment, water and ecological transition; President Ivan Duque of Colombia, former US President Bill Clinton, Dr. Sylvia Earle, National Geographic explorer in residence, and other dignitaries.  

'This is a really valuable and important step for marine protection,' Lindblad said. 'And hopefully these extensions will only get larger and larger over time. It's been a tremendous joy. People have come from all over the world to celebrate what Galápagos has done. These islands are a jewel of our planet.'

Lindblad Expeditions has had an enduring connection to the islands ever since Sven's father Lars-Eric Lindblad brought the first citizen explorers to the archipelago and funded the first Galápagos Park Rangers. Sven first visited the islands in 1967 as a 17-year-old.

He returned Friday for the first time since the pandemic to witness what he called a 'remarkable' happening of 'great importance.'