Chile has magnificent marine fauna, with a wide ranging variety of mammals, fish, mollusks and crustaceans.
Sunday, August 02, 2009
Delfín Austral (Photo:Nomads of the Seas)
One of the area's main attractions is the southern or bottlenecked dolphins, playful animals that in captivity are known as the Panda bears of the sea.
There is growing interest in whale watching at places such as Whale Sound camp at the Carlos III Marine Reserve in Magellan Strait, or at private parks such as Tantauco in Chiloé. Blue whales and humpback whales can be easily sighted in these areas, preferably in early summer.
In 2008, Chile signed an international agreement prohibiting whale hunting in its territory.
Sea turtles are a rarity in Chilean waters. These belong to the tropical green sea turtle species and can be easily seen at Antofagasta and Mejillones.
According to estimates, Chile has over two hundred species of fish, 56 of which are of commercial interest, highlighting Conger eels and Chilean sea bass, flounder, salmon and Southern hake. Mollusks include abalone, razor clams, oysters and scallops.
There is a wide variety of crustaceans in Chilean waters, especially the Southern king crab and the Juan Fernández lobster.
Easter Island's marine territory is untouched by the Humboldt current and therefore its marine species are tropical, in contrast with the continental coastline. The tuna from this area is especially tasty. The Juan Fernández archipelago is known for its wide variety of endemic fish, specifically Pacific yellowtail and the mero de Juan Fernández.
These two insular territories offer the best scuba diving in Chile.