Nov 2, 2021 10:23 AM EST

Ecuador expands Galapagos marine reserve

A hammerhead shark swims close to Wolf Island at Galapagos Marine Reserve

A hammerhead shark swims close to Wolf Island at Galapagos Marine Reserve in 2013. Photo by REUTERS/Jorge Silva

GLASGOW, Scotland — Ecuador’s president has announced that his country is expanding the marine reserve around the Galapagos Islands by almost half.

President Guillermo Lasso told the U.N. climate conference in Glasgow on Tuesday that the government has agreed with the fishery, tourism and conservation sectors to establish a new marine reserve in the Galapagos Islands of 60,000 square kilometers (more than 23,000 square miles).

Lasso said this would be added to an existing marine reserve of about 130,000 square kilometers (50,000 square miles).

Experts says oceans are particularly vulnerable to climate change and the Galapagos Islands are considered one of the world’s biodiversity jewels.