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Koldita Island


Development of a management plan for 12,630-acre marine protected area and purchase of surveillance equipment such as marine radios and binoculars

Date Approved: 02.2016


This project protects ocean ecosystems, making coastal communities more economically and physically secure in the face of climate change.

Small, remote Koldita Island is part of the Chiloé Archipelago of southern Chile. The archipelago has a high percentage of endemic species and is home to blue and other whales, otters, and the threatened Chilean dolphin. The islands provide important habitat for many birds, including penguins, black-necked swan, green-backed firecrown, ringed kingfisher, and Chilean flamingo. The area is also an important habitat for Chile’s two otter species, both of which are in danger of extinction.

For centuries, culture on the island changed little for the indigenous Mapuche-Huilliche people. In the last 20 years, however, development has caused pollution and increased sedimentation along the coast. Exotic species have been introduced, archaeological sites disturbed, and traditional knowledge lost.

The communities are seeking legal protection for nearby marine and coastal territory. They seek Seacology’s help with two initiatives that will support this large marine protected area: development of a management plan, and the purchase of equipment, such as VHF radios and binoculars, to help community members monitor the area and enforce restrictions. A Seacology grant will help the community preserve the island’s environment and their traditional culture.

Project Updates

June 2020

The new management plan for the protected area is now in place and guiding the activities of the artisanal fishermen’s organizations and indigenous communities. Our project partner spent less money on the project than budgeted, and used the leftover grant funds to buy solar panels for the local visitors center.

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December 2019

The project is in its last phase. The next step is to install signs next to the boat ramps in each indigenous community, announcing the marine protected area.

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May 2019

The management plan for the protected area is drafted and has been distributed. Because the community spent less money on the project than budgeted, they are using the leftover grant funds to install solar panels on the local visitors center.

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December 2018

The project is in its last phase and should be finished soon. Several deaths and serious illnesses among the families of the project leaders, as well as a particularly hard winter, delayed progress. The project coordinator and outside experts have completed a preliminary management plan for the protected area; they just added additional information from a consultant anthropologist. Community members have also been meeting with artisanal fishermen’s organizations to discuss the MPA.

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January 2018

The project is progressing well, although more slowly than the community had planned. Bad weather hampered access to the island during the winter, and in October the leader of the community died, halting the project for almost two months. In December, our field representative Claudio Delgado met with the project coordinator and the experts helping to prepare the plan. They have completed a preliminary management plan for the protected area.

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May 2017

The community has made good progress on the management plan, according to our field representative Claudio Delgado. They have identified natural and cultural conservation objects in the area, and representatives of the indigenous communities have formed a management committee and meet monthly to keep progress on track. They have chosen equipment for surveillance for the area and will start buying it next month.

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January 2017

Koldita community members have begun working on the management plan, holding workshops to identify the primary threats to and conservation goals for the protected area. A technical team will evaluate these results in terms of validity and feasibility. Work on the project stopped temporarily in November and part of December while indigenous communities were occupied with several cultural activities.

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July 2016

Seacology Field Representative Claudio Delgado visited the communities in June to get to know the community members and project team better. Claudio, the project coordinator, a marine biologist, and an anthropologist spent eight hours touring the project boundaries by boat, observing the salmon and mussel farming operations that threaten the environment and getting a feel for the rich marine biodiversity. Claudio also met with local families and with Koldita leader Juan Belasio LLankalahuen, who guided the group. Claudio also held a workshop to share his professional experience in designing effective conservation plans.

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May 2016

Koldita community members have met twice and are assembling a team to work on the management plan. Seacology’s Chile Field Representative Claudio Delgado plans to visit the island soon, at the community’s invitation.

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