Marine reserves are as important to undersea conservation as national parks and wilderness areas are for terrestrial species. Come with us to the Galapagos Islands, 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, to hear the story of one such reserve and the importance it holds for many migratory species that depend on it. Our host, naturalist guide Josy Cardoso, is joined by Cesar Peñaherrera, science coordinator of MigraMar, a marine research and conservation network focused on the eastern Pacific Ocean. Discover the important role the Galapagos Marine Reserve plays as a breeding and feeding ground for many migratory species, including sharks and tuna. Its impact is so significant that the tuna fishery increased its catch four-fold in the area around the reserve since it was established in 1998. Yet several turtle and shark populations are now steadily trending downward within the reserve and other marine protected areas in the region, while tuna stocks are showing signs of full exploitation and potential overfishing around the Galapagos. Twenty-two years after the Marine Reserve’s creation, it’s time to assess its protective efficacy for the Galapagos, and to evaluate what actions (such as its expansion) could be taken to halt or reverse the decline of migratory species within and beyond its borders.
Originally presented November 13, 2020
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