Saturday, March 24, 2018

Marine areas with a great diversity and abundance of benthic invertebrates, fish, seabirds and marine mammals. Restrictions on the dispersion of invertebrate larvae and fish have caused several species present in the Golfo San Matias to become populations independent from those in the Argentine Sea. The North Patagonian Gulfs are the main breeding ground for the southern right whale in the Southwest Atlantic. Its shores are home to the Magellanic penguin's most northerly breeding colony. Species typically found in the warm Brazil current can be found in the Golfo San Matias, among them marine turtles.


Conservation Status



Inshore waters of the provinces of Río Negro and Chubut.

Biogeographical Region

Temperate seas of South America. Magellanic Province. Ecoregion: North Patagonian: Gulfs.


5.900 km2

Types of Habitats

Coastal environments: wetlands, sand or pebble beaches, wave-cut platforms, bays and high cliffs.  Shallow subtidal environments with plenty of solar light penetration in the Golfo San Jose.

Species Richness

Seven species of seabirds and 2 pinniped species breed in the area.  Twelve of the 37 marine mammal species reported in the area are resident. In the Golfo San Matías over 150 fish and invertebrate especies have been reported. In the Golfo San Jose, 69 invertebrate species.

Main Uses

Common hake industrial fishery and artisanal fishery for benthic invertebrates in the Golfo San Matias.  Artisanal fishing for shellfish in the Golfo San Jose. Diving and fishing for sport.  Maritime traffic. Scientific Research.


Overfishing; by-catch and incidental mortality of cartilaginous fish, seabirds and marine mammals; destruction of seabed communities by bottom trawling. Discharge of offal. Invasive alien species. Chronic contamination from hydrocarbons and oil spill accidents.

Management - Main Government Bodies

Provincia de Río Negro: Ministerio de Turismo, Ministerio de la Producción, Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Dirección de Pesca. Provincia del Chubut: Ministerio de Ambiente y Control del Desarrollo Sustentable, Secretaría de Turismo y áreas Protegidas, Subsecretaría de Pesca, Dirección de Fauna y Flora Silvestre, Administración del área Natural Protegida Península Valdés.

Level of Protection

The Golfo San Jose is a provincial marine park which is a part of the Reserva Natural Turística de Objetivo Integral Península Valdés (Peninsula Valdes Nature and Tourist Reserve). There is a provincial fishing reseve as well as two coastal reserves for fauna in the sector of the Golfo San Matias that belongs to the Province of Rio Negro.



Southern Right Whales in San José Gulf © Mariano Sironi

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