Careful management of fishing activity is essential to the conservation of the Galapagos Marine Reserve (GMR).
Currently, a Participatory Management Board made up of the Galapagos National Park (GNP), Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF), local authorities and fishermen are working together to establish a sustainable balance between fishing and conservation.
As commercial fishing is becoming less lucrative due to the detrimental impacts of previous overfishing and tighter regulations, fishermen are beginning to consider alternatives to traditional fishing activity, turning to tourists to provide much-needed income. Although sports fishing is prohibited in the GMR, recreational fishing (locally known as 'pesca vivencial') is authorised but presently poorly regulated. The idea of allowing tourists to accompany licensed fishers to experience a day of fishing and recreation has become popular but requires a holistic study to assess potential impacts. Beginning in 2006, 21 boats are now licensed for this activity and are required to complete logbooks to record catch. Fundamental biological and socioeconomic data remains incomplete, however, and this study is crucial to fill in these gaps.
Project goal: to improve scientific understanding of the impact of recreational fishing on the Marine Reserve and on the Galapagos community. This will then be used to assist local decision making about pesca vivencial as a tourist activity.