Tropical Marine Protected Areas

Galapagos Marine Reserve

In 1974 there was a Terrestrial Management of the national park recommended the protection of 2 nautical mile zone around each island. The Marine reserve that is present to day was established in 1998 by the Ecuadorian government enactment of the Galapagos Special Law; Organic Law of Special Regime for Conservation and Sustainable Development (LOREG). In 2001 the site was included in the list of UNESCO world Heritage sites

Geographical Extent

The Galapagos Islands are located 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, these islands are the second largest Marine reserve in the world. The reserve includes 133000 km^2 of sea surface and inland water. The entire area with in the 40 nautical miles measured from the coasts of the farthest islands. The Galápagos Marine Reserve Coordinates 0.0536° S, 90.7692° W. 

Scientific Basis

There is a vast Biodiversity of land and sea animals. The island has some of the highest levels of endemism then anywhere else on the planet. This area alone has 80% of the Land birds, 97% of reptiles and land mammals, 30% of the plants and 20% of all marine species that are found no where else in the world. Recorded to date there are:This link provides pictures and some scientific detail on the above listed species.

For a list of all the animals, fungi, plants and ecological groups as well as information on biodiversity see the Charles Darwin Foundation's website and the Galapagos Islands website.

See the below video from Google that highlights the unique ecology of the Galapagos Islands.

Major Management Decisions

In 1998 the Ecuadorian government approved revision of the Management Plan. The revision of the plan included: Political Constitution of the Republic, Laws: General and Specific, Regulation, Decrees, Ministerial Accord, Resolution, By-Laws, Statue, Management Plan, Classification of protected areas (biosphere reserve, Whale Sanctuaries and Marine Reserve).
During this revision the “Law of the Special Regime for the Conservation and Sustainable Development of the Galapagos Province.” came into being. The revision outlines regulations regarding Fishing, Marine Tourism, Science and Military Strategies and Navigation within the marine reserve. This revision is explored in detail in the Management Plan for Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Galapagos Marine Reserve.

Management Authorities

The national level of authority is: 
The Participatory Management Board (PMB) is at the local level. They are:

Recent Developments and Current Status

The monitoring of marine invasive species is global problem. The GMR is extremely susceptible to these due to the increase of tourism and the climate change. As a result the Monitoring Marine Invasive Species project was initiated. The Galapagos Climate Change Initiative is working toward an understanding of how the climate change will effect the El Nino and as a result affect the terrestrial and the marine life of the GMR. Marine Managed Area Science allows us to study the effects of the warm and cool currents effect of the marine life. Started in 2004 and has established the effectiveness of the Marine Managed area.
Marine Rapid Response Network was put in place to detect sick or injured animals and marine wildlife, as well as deceased.
Managing Fisheries in the Galapagos Marine Reserve is a major concern even though the reserve is closed to commercial fishing, legally artisanal fishery is aloud. This fishery exploits the area that produces the most capital.

For more information on the above please see the following:

Latest News

For the up to date press releases by the Galapagos Conservatory please click here.

Click here to view the management plan for the Galapagos Marine Reserve!


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