Coastal Ecuador

The Project

Home to the Largest Remaining Population of Oceanic Mantas

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The eastern shores of Ecuador’s Pacific coast harbor five species of sea turtles, 20 species of whales and dolphins, hammerhead and whale sharks, and the largest remaining population of oceanic manta rays in the world.

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87,000 artisanal fishers and their families live in coastal communities in Ecuador and depend on commercially valuable fish species for food and livelihoods. These fish are becoming scarce due to threats from illegal fishing and degradation of coastal habitats.

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In 2015, WildAid Marine began working in five marine protected areas (MPAs) in Coastal Ecuador. In 2019, we began work on a project with Conservation International – GEF and the Ecuadorian government to strengthen enforcement on a national level, benefitting all 19 coastal MPAs.

Coastal Ecuador: The Challenge

When we began our work in Coastal Ecuador, rangers lacked the training and equipment necessary to patrol their waters. Patrols were sporadic or nonexistent, and illegal fishing was rampant.

Our Impact

Putting Our Model Into Action

We helped our partners reach the Implementation stage and develop comprehensive Marine Protection System Plans for all 19 MPAs.

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We helped establish patrolling strategies to cover 100% of each MPA and acquire patrol equipment and uniforms for each site, including two patrol vessels, an HD surveillance camera, radio communication equipment, and satellite vessel monitoring software.

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We conducted annual trainings for all MPA managers and staff, including dedicated peer-to-peer exchanges and regional workshops.

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We helped secure a partnership with CI-GEF to support enforcement operations across the entire coast.

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We helped our partners establish community workshops and programs to improve understanding of the importance of marine conservation and fisheries regulations.

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We are planning a legal workshop to help all sites enforce marine regulations consistently and thus increase prosecution rates.

Photo by Laura Wais
100,000+

sea turtle hatchlings protected in four years.

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44%

increase in patrol hours from 2018 to 2019 across five MPAs.

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83%

availability of patrol vessels annually (worldwide average is 75%).

Our Partners