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PATAGONIAN SEA

 

The Patagonian Shelf in the South Atlantic is one of the widest continental shelves in the world and encompasses the Falkland Islands, also known as the Islas Malvinas. Two major wind-driven currents meet here, with the warm and saline Brazil Current flowing southward while mixing with the Falklands or Malvinas Current, which carries cool, less saline, nutrient-rich sub-Antarctic water northward. The confluence of these warm and cold waters creates a productive and very complex marine system that supports diverse communities of species including the southern rockhopper penguin and 16 endemic species of land bird. The marine life is threatened by overfishing, plastic waste, chemical pollution and effects from climate change, but hope is on the horizon! As a first move towards conservation of the entire area, the Argentinian government has established at the Burdwood Bank (a submerged plateau located south of the Falkland Islands) a Marine Protected Area, banning all fishing activity and officially protecting the area.