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“Fisheries Resources of the Galapagos Marine Reserve”

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1 “Fisheries Resources of the Galapagos Marine Reserve”
WP2 Shifting Baselines RESEARCH REPORT “Fisheries Resources of the Galapagos Marine Reserve” Mauricio Castrejón Charles Darwin Research Station, Galapagos , Ecuador

2 Galapagos Marine Reserve (GMR)
Archipelago composed by 15 islands and approximately 106 islets High level of endemic organisms and a wide range of marine and terrestrial habitat A UNESCO world heritage site established in 2001 covering 138,000 km2 Multi-use marine reserve There is a human population of ca 30,000 individuals Inhabited islands : Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, Isabela, Floreana and Baltra Affected by natural (“El Niño”) and anthropogenic impacts (fishing, tourism, etc.) 40 nm

3 A unique situation…. The confluence of currents let cold water species like penguins co-exist with tropical species such as reef coral The challenge is how can we differentiate between the effects of climatic variability (“El Niño”) and human activities (fishing, tourism, etc.) over populations communities and ecosystems

4 Coastal Zoning of the GMR
In 2002, a coastal zonation scheme (CZ) was established to regulate the human use of the GMR, to avoid conflicts between stakeholders, and to protect the high biodiversity sites Currently, 18% of the total area of the GMR is No-take zone An ecological monitoring system was established to evaluate the efficiency of the CZ The CZ has not been properly implemented by authorities (GNPS) and is not respected by fishermen

5 History of Galapagos Fisheries
The fishing activity started with the hunting of whales and sea lions in the nineteenth century The industrial fishery was developed in the 1940s with longline and purse-seine fleets from Japan, EEUU, Panama and Costa Rica whose main target species were tunas In 1970, an Ecuadorian industrial fleet begin to operate exclusively in Galapagos The industrial fishery was totally excluded from the GMR when the Special Law of Galapagos (SLG) was approved by the Ecuadorian government in 1998 The SLG extended the area of the Marine Reserve from 15 to 40 miles and since then only the artisanal fleet has exclusive rights to operate in the GMR

6 Galapagos Artisanal Fishery
In 1964, the number of artisanal fishermen was of ca. 200 individuals Currently, there are over 1000 registered fishers organized in 4 fishery cooperatives 526 fishers (≈53%) live on San Cristobal. The remainder are divided between Isabela and Santa Cruz The fleet is composed of 148 fiberglass and 231 wooden small boats (3-10 m) and 67 big boats ( m) The most common fishing method is hooka diving (the diver breathes from a hose connected to an onboard compressor) Nowadays, the most important target species are sea cucumber and spiny lobster (both of which are showing signs of severe depletion)

7 The Sea Cucumber Fishery (Isotichopus fuscus)
Main fishery of the GMR over last decade High price and demand in Asian markets The fishery started illegally in 1991 The first legal fishing season (1994) was followed by 5 years closure and restarted in 1999 Spatial-temporal closures, TAC, minimum legal size, limit reference points Probably a total closure to be established for 2006 (stock collapsed)

8 The Fishery of Spiny Lobsters
Second most important fishery Two species are exploited: red (Panulirus penicillatus) and green (P. gracillis) spiny lobster The fishery started commercially in the 60´s In the 80´s there was an increase in fishing power when “hooka” began to be introduced Spatial-temporal closures, minimum legal size, limit reference points, catch of ovigerous females banned Lobster stock is over-exploited

9 Pelagic Fishery (Pesca Blanca)
One of the first and the most traditional fisheries in the GMR Catch is composed approximately by 70 finfish species Main target species: Mycteroperca olfax, Mugil galapaguensis, Xenomugil Thoburni, Thunnus albacares, T. obesus, Epinephelus mystacinus and Acanthocybium solandri The main fishing methods are hook and line and gillnets Lack of management measurements Very few studies about the dynamics of the resource and fishery The status of the stocks is unknown

10 Participatory Programme of Fisheries Monitoring and Research (PIMPP)
In 1997 the systematic collection of fishery and biological data for all exploited species of the GMR began The monitoring is led by the Galapagos National Park Service (GNPS) and the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) In 2004 the monitoring of finfish and other minor resources (octopus, chitons, gastropods) ended due to lack of funding Since 2005 the monitoring has been focused only toward the sea cucumber and spiny lobsters fishery In February 2006, the finfish monitoring has been restarted Annual assessment of levels of catch, fishing effort, CPUE, percentage of illegal individual in catch, mean size

11 Fishery Monitoring Fishery-biological data are collected by members GNPS, by local students, and by local or international volunteers of the CDRS Data are taken at the three main ports of Galapagos: Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz), Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristobal) and Villamil (Isabela) Additionally, a fishery observers system has been implemented since 1997 Most data of catch, effort, size, weight and sex (only lobster) collected are spatially explicit Data are stored, under a My-SQL format, in three databases (one for each main port) located at the CDRS´ installations Databases are composed by 34 tables and jointly contain more than 50,000 records of catch-effort and 100,000 of biological data The GNPS administers another database with catch and effort data

12 Independent Surveys Population monitoring is carried out before and after each sea cucumber and lobster fishing seasons since 1999 The stakeholders provide economic or human resources to carry out the monitoring Assessment of densities and populations structures around the archipelago Permanent sampling sites have been established in 6 islands for sea cucumber and in 3 for spiny lobster Tagging studies (spiny and slipper lobsters) Oceanographic and ecological (subtidal) community monitoring at over 300 sites with seasonal repetition

13 Research so far….. Catch, effort and biological data belonging to the two last lobster and sea cucumber fishing seasons have been collected, systemized and “cleaned” The 2005 pre and post harvest population monitoring of sea cucumber and lobster have been carried out A new monitoring system with close participation of fishers in data collection was recently implemented for the last lobster fishing seasons Catch, effort and biological data of lobster collected in the 70´s were recovered and systemized (thesis of Dr. Gunter Reck) A new project, funded by the Tinker Foundation, will start in March and part of it will be focused on collating the traditional ecological knowledge of the main fisheries resources

14 Next steps Carry on the “cleaning” stage of catch, effort and biological data of sea cucumber, lobster and pelagic fisheries from the time period Through fishers interviews, obtain information related to past catch and effort rates of the main fishery resources Investigate if other information sources such as theses, technical reports and independent fishery surveys data carried out by government institutions (such as the National Fishing Institute) exists Long term analysis of spatial-temporal variation in fishery effort allocation for the sea cucumber and lobster fishery (collaboration with Dr. Omar Defeo from CINVESTAV, México) Compare spatial-temporal shifts in the catch composition of the pelagic fishery in order to evaluate potential impacts of fishing over fish assemblages

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