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Galapagos Islands


Conservation benefit: Communication campaign for the establishment of no-take areas in the Galapagos Marine Reserve

Date Approved: 07.2001


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

The famed Galapagos Islands include 19 islands and 107 islets, 600 miles west of the coast of Ecuador. The Galapagos Marine Reserve is the second largest marine park in the world. Many Galapagos residents, however, have not been educated about the consequences of overfishing. As a result, the marine ecosystem is under severe pressure, and fishing capacity is strained. Several no-take (no fishing) reserves are currently planned in the Galapagos, but these will be successful only with the support of the fishing community.

With Seacology’s assistance, the Charles Darwin Research Station will create and distribute printed materials, videos, and radio spots to increase the understanding of Galapagos residents about the need to preserve their marine environment and the benefits of no-take reserves.

Project Updates

June 2007

Following an agreement in 2004 between Galapagos Marine Reserve stakeholders, the Galapagos National Park Service and the Ecuadorian Navy “take” and “no-take zones” were physically marked around the 1667 km of Galapagos coastline. These signposts establish for the first time permitted use of the coastal reserve, with zones marked for protected areas, regulated tourism use, and local fisheries activities. Monitoring of sub tidal marine communities by CDF researchers shows that the zoning is already having an effect, with more fish of reproductive age and richer marine environments across those no-take sites. Marine zoning in Galapagos is planned to respond to changing circumstances, e.g. human pressures such as fisheries and tourism within natural events such as El Niño that affect the entire Reserve. CDF works with the National Park Service to evaluate the effectiveness of the current scheme that in principle works to help maintain the unique natural biodiversity and endemism of Galapagos while promoting responsible marine tourism and appropriate sustainable fisheries. Zoning in the Galapagos Marine Reserve is implemented by the Galapagos National Park Service with the Ecuadorian Navy, who together are responsible for patrolling the reserve, ensuring that the restricted use zones are respected.

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July 2004

The boundaries of the “no-take” areas have yet to be established. This year a commission is being formed to determine the no-take zone areas and will be comprised of representatives from the fishing sector, guides, tour operators, Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Foundation. While the no-take zones have not been established yet, the Charles Darwin Research Station staff completed the communication campaign through presentations, meetings and the distribution of printed information.

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