|Town/Region||Central Patagonia Coast|
|Continent||Central and Latin America|
|Categories||Biodiversity, Cetaceans, Ecotourism, Marine|
|Date||15 Sep 2006|
Central Patagonia coastal zone is an epicentre of marine biodiversity that sustain several top predators and migrants, reflecting its high local productivity. But the area is exposed to overfishing, oil exploitation, waste, lack of coastal planning, and scarce public awareness.
When we started our first RSG project, in January 2003, we expected to generate some public interest for marine conservation, using cetaceans as flagship species. Our results and the positive response of the public, encouraged us to expand our objectives to a more integrated framework. Today, we feel that there is an urgent need of developing management tools for the Patagonian Marine Ecosystem, based in precautionary principles, introducing the idea of marine protected areas (MPA) as opportunities for local people and for conservation.
MPAs have shown to be a crucial conservation tool, protecting habitats and biodiversity, helping maintain sustainable fisheries, providing foundation for sustainable, wildlife-based tourism and research. However, only 0.5% of the coastal and marine surface is under protection in Argentina. MPA will only succeed if backed by the community and governments, so build public understanding and support for conserving the ocean is a priority for success. To build this up takes real time and effort and could succeed only by sharing knowledge, experience and efforts with other initiatives in marine conservation.
The main goal of this project is to expand and consolidate a long-lasting marine conservation programme for central Patagonia, taking the challenge of changing people perception towards the ocean, and helping to set bases for the future creation of MPAs in this fragile environment.
We will integrate activities on public awareness, research on strategies and criteria for the creation and planning of MPAs, and interaction with governments and other marine conservation projects to work in coalition.
To read about Laura's previous project http://www.ruffordsmallgrants.org/rsg/Projects/LauraMarinaReyes or for more information contact: