The Marine Coastal Protected Area for Multiple Uses Isla Grande de Atacama is a protected area dependant on the Ministry of Environment. It covers 12.975,79 hectares (32 acres approximately), which run from Punta El Morro up to the mouth of the Copiapó River, including Isla Grande de Atacama and Isla Chata. All the area belongs to the Municipality of Caldera in the Atacama Region.
By labelling this territory as protected, the Chilean State responds to two international commitments.
On the one hand, to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which asks to protect at least 10% of the national marine ecosystems. On the other hand, to the Protocol for the Conservation and Management of Protected Marine and Coastal Areas of the South-East Pacific, which compels the State to keep a network of MCPAs.
The Decree that defines and labels this MCPA was signed in 2004. It established its multiple uses and its onshore limits, which are Punta El Morro and the Copiapó River Wetland, and offshore milestones such as the Isla Grande de Atacama and Isla Chata Chica. And the Bienes Nacionales Minister signed two Decrees the 383 y 386 del 2006, for the earth area.
The declaratory was reinforced by theDecree 360 of the Ministry of National Assets that self-assigns 8.102,27 hectares (32 acres) of public lands for conservation purposes and for the development of productive activities of low environmental impact.
Marine coastal protected areas for multiple uses are the international legal provision used to preserve biodiversity, protect marine endangered species, reduce the usage conflicts, generate opportunities for research and education, and develop commercial and recreational activities in a sustainable manner.
MCPAs are a tool for protection, administration, maintenance or restoration of natural and cultural resources in marine and coastal areas, so as to ensure the availability of such resources and services in the long run.