New and Notable on www.eco-index.org: Strengthening Governance and Conservation of Natural Resources in the Galapagos National Park through Control and Vigilance of the Tourism, Fishing, and Private Sectors and Support from the Legal Department

Managing NGO(s), country: Servicio Nacional de Parques de Galápagos, Ecuador; WildAid, Regional.

Project director(s): Marcel Bigue, Oswaldo Rosero

Summary: The Galapagos Marine Reserve in Ecuador, the largest marine reserve in a developing country and the third largest in the world, harbors fascinating diversity and a unique concentration of wildlife and ecosystems. The Galapagos National Park authorities, including legal advisers and environmental police, are committed to detecting and capturing offenders, and processing the cases efficiently so that sanctions can be applied consistently and the number of illegal activities in the Galapagos Marine Reserve that negatively impact marine diversity are reduced. The goal of this project is to develop an effective, professional program to apply the law and provide follow-up from the justice system, as well as develop a program by the Galapagos National Park, the Navy, and the environmental police to monitor vessels within the Galapagos Marine Reserve. The GNP guards and lawyers, with support from the Navy and environmental police, will strengthen the control of the reserve, the application of the law, and the implementation of more agile and effective systems to follow up on pending cases.

Annual budget and donors: $400,000 from Conservation International; Galapagos Conservation Fund, Ecuador; Walton Family Foundation, United States; International Galapagos Tour Operators Association, Ecuador.

Principle Accomplishments: Since May 2009, a vessel monitoring system has been operating for vessels larger than 20 tons; captured seven longline fishing vessels in less than three months; implemented an exhaustive program on the application of the law, including the establishment of a maintenance system, a development plan for staff, and the optimization of existing resources; conducted a technical audit of all of the vessels over a three-year period; hired a maintenance manager; established a preventive maintenance system that saved the Galapagos National Park Service thousands of dollars in repairs; optimized resources to become more efficient, identify the resources needed for patrolling, develop an operational plan, and coordinate more closely with the Navy.

Anticipated Accomplishments: Create a Special Investigative Unit that will conduct investigations into known and suspected violations of the Special Galapagos Law through overt and covert techniques that will include gathering and analyzing intelligence; identifying violators and their accomplices; gathering physical evidence, witnesses, etc.; developing informants; targeting known and suspected violators for investigation; conducting short-term and long-term, in-depth investigations; preparing solid, evidence-backed cases for prosecution.

Contacts: Marcel Bigue and Oswaldo Rosero, WildAid. Calle Fragatas s/n y Av. Charles Darwin, Galápagos, Ecuador. Tel: +593-5/2527-412, Fax: +593-5/2527-412. bigue@wildaid.org, rosero@wildaid.org, www.wildaid.org.

More About This Project.

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