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Marine Protection

Happy World Oceans Day!

Happy World Oceans Day from WildAid!

With your support, WildAid is answering the call for stronger safeguarding and enforcement of the world's marine protected areas - designated sanctuaries that are vital for mantas, sea turtles, sharks and other marine animals.

For World Oceans Day this year, we celebrated our partnership with Misool Foundation in Raja Ampat. Situated in a remote corner of Indonesia, Raja Ampat’s coral reefs lie at the epicenter of marine biodiversity, in the heart of the Coral Triangle. The region is home to 75% of the world’s known coral species, and more than 1,500 species of fish.

How can you help coral reefs?

Coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies)

Last month, aerial studies conducted by scientists revealed devastating coral bleaching in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef due to record-breaking temperatures this year caused by climate change.

Adapting C3 Tactics for Marine Conservation

Rangers in Ecuador using new VHF radios during a patrol (Gustavo Crespo).

Communications, command and control (C3) models are used throughout the U.S. armed forces to ensure mission objectives. This assures situational awareness and getting critical information to the right users at the right time. At WildAid, we’ve adapted these principles to the marinescape with the dual goal of protecting precious fisheries and Park Wardens, as exemplified by the following scenario.

A small artisanal boat is moored in a popular local fishing spot in the Santa Elena Wildlife Refuge when two divers emerge with bags full of their catch. Upon inspection, the Santa Elena Rangers find illegally caught sea cucumber mixed with the rest of the catch. Faced with the threat of seizure, the fishers and boat captain become aggressive… Now what?

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Save the Vaquita and Boycott Mexican Shrimp

The world’s smallest porpoise is on the brink of extinction. The vaquita marina (little sea cow) is only found in the Northern Sea of Cortez and fewer than 30 individuals remain (a dramatic decrease from last year). While fishermen do not target the vaquita directly, its numbers are decreasing due to entanglements in gillnets.

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What is the key to a successful marine protected area? People and money.

A boat travels inside the Galapagos Marine Reserve (Ralph Lee Hopkins)

Simply designating a marine protected area (MPA) is not enough to protect critical habitat and species. A new study in Nature sought to answer how MPA management impacted fish populations. The results confirm a belief long-held by the marine community: the success of an MPA is directly correlated to effective management and this in turn requires adequate money and staff.

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A New Canine Unit to Protect the Galapagos from Invasive Species

Training the new canine unit to prevent invasive species in the Galapagos

Invasive species pose one of the greatest threats to the conservation of the Galapagos Islands. That’s why together with the Galapagos Conservancy, WildAid helped the Galapagos Biosecurity Agency (ABG) form a specialized canine unit to protect these unique islands from invasive species

In 2016, we selected and trained two dogs and three handlers, as well as constructed the necessary infrastructure (kennels and offices) for the unit. The canine unit will provide a versatile and low cost method of detecting illegal substances to prevent their entry into the Galapagos archipelago.

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WildAid and Partners Host a Maritime Operations Training in Ecuador

Practicing navigation during the workshop with Ecuador rangers.

Park rangers in Ecuador risk their lives every day to protect marine areas from illegal fishing and destruction of critical habitat. Together with Conservation International, WWF, the Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment and the Galapagos National Park Service, WildAid hosted a maritime operations training for park rangers from 17 Ecuadorian marine protected areas, ministry of environment officials, fishery officers and other marine practitioners last month to ensure the rangers have the right knowledge to handle any situation that comes their way. Rangers often venture unarmed at night in the face of danger including armed illegal fishers and pirates, to protect Ecuador’s marine environment and endangered species. According to one of the Machalilla park rangers, even a simple task like retrieving a fishing net from the water comes fraught with risk.

The U.S. takes a stance against seafood fraud and illegal fishing

New U.S. regulations will protect marine mammals, such as this sea lion, in international fisheries (Laura Wais)

Last month, the U.S. made an announcement that could help reduce illegal fishing and seafood fraud in foreign fisheries.

The U.S. will now increase traceability of seafood imports from high risk countries to ensure compliance with national and international fishing regulations. This legislation will complement regulations enacted last fall to ensure international compliance with American fishing standards for protecting marine mammals. Together, these regulations ensure that foreign fishers wishing to import their products into the U.S.—one of the largest seafood importers in the world—take measures to curtail illegal fishing in their waters.

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Protecting Sea Turtles in Nicaragua

Nesting olive-ridley sea turtles

Nicaragua’s stunning beaches are more than tourist attractions. The sandy bluffs along the coral corridor provide a refuge for thousands of nesting hawksbill, olive-ridley, leatherback and green sea turtles. In fact, Nicaragua’s La Flor Wildlife Refuge hosts more than 100,000 olive-ridley nests each year.

WildAid completed an enforcement assessment last year of three marine protected areas (MPAs) in Nicaragua’s coral corridor to address turtle poaching and other threats to the region’s biodiversity.

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