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  Page updated:29.06.2009

Control and Monitoring of the
Galapagos Marine Reserve

For more information contact:
Ricardo Visaira, +593 (0)5 252 6189 Ext. 136, visaira@dpng.gob.ec

The Galapagos National Park Service has a satellite tracking system for ships as of 2009.

Operations within the Marine Reserve has evolved over the last decade thanks to a coordinated effort of the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park, the Navy of Ecuador and by implementing cooperative agreements.

The surveillance and control efforts are focused on ensuring that the development of fishing and tourism activities are carried out normally, for the common good of all users.

The Galapagos Marine Reserve is the first marine protected area in the world in applying satellite technology to monitor 100% of their ships. "

The new maritime control satellite based tracking system allows us to observe the status table of all Ecuadorian-flagged vessels transiting within the Galapagos Marine Reserve and the creation of zones for various uses and evaluate the interaction of ships within such areas or transit ways.

The system is a key tool to ensure the correct use of the Galapagos Marine Reserve on issues such as meeting schedules, correct use of visitor sites, monitoring of fisheries, defining closed areas and other zoning of the Reserve, acceptable load of visitor sites, biological and oceanographic monitoring with remote sensors, etc...


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With the implementation of devices on ships under 20 GRT, the Galapagos Marine Reserve is the first marine protected area in the world to apply satellite monitoring technology to 100% of their ships.

The construction of the Monitoring Center in the Galapagos National Park began in February 2009. This implementation included the integration of information on ships between the "Dirección Nacional de Espacios Acuáticos" (DIRNEA) and the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park. In this configuration, the GNPS has direct access to the DIRNEA database for purposes of mutual consultation of all national vessels.

Control and Monitoring 2001-2008

Since 2007, we note a marked increase in the number of inspections. From 2009 on, we are expected not only to continue this trend, but to achieve a significantly higher rate of effectiveness in the operations, thanks to the satellite monitoring system.

Data through 2008 are prior to installation of this system.

One can see that in recent years the total number of ships detained is less. This shows that the incursion of foreign and domestic vessels within the GMR is lower and we are hopeful that the island's fishing community is becoming aware that the best way to conserve resources is through its sustainable use.

Inspections of vessels are directly proportional to the increase of operations. The main points of inspection are the documentation of the vessel, its staff and its fishing gear.

In recent years we've seen more violations recorded. This is a direct result of tighter controls being implemented. This does not mean that in previous years actual violations were minor, but rather that as there are fewer transactions these violations were not registered.

Among the most common violations include: fishermen with no documentation, fishing in prohibited areas, fishing of species that are closed and fishing for species that do not meet minimum standards for marketing.

Control and Surveillance 2001-2008 by Objective

Monitoring and patrolling, by contrast, provides between 70% and 80% of all targets, permitting control of the activities taking place in the GMR. Currently the program is improved by its increase in its ability to scan, detect and intercept.

Logistical support operations provide transportation to personnel of this and other institutions at different points on the island for administrative purposes, execution of projects and transportation of relief personnel to remote bases.

Research studies are of great importance. Among the most relevant research include; studies of sharks and other pelagic fish populations, status of sea cucumber and lobster, among others.

Finally, monitoring fishery activities, allows the inspection and registration of principal commercial species and control of the parameters set for each fishing calendar.

Control and Surveillance 2001-2008 by Type of Operation

Coastal Marine - In recent years this activity falls between 70% and 80% of the total performed. For its implementation, speedboats are used for carrying out daily patrols.

Oceanic - correspond to about 10% of operations. For its implementation, oceanic boats with autonomous capacity are used for trips between 10 and 15 days.

Air - The repair and maintenance work with the objective of air resources has impeded the number of operations performed for this type of work and have not increased in the last year.

Land - Within the main activities for this type of operation is ground patrols to places where there have been reports, support personnel carriers to implement control operations and maintenance support of the communication system.

This program has counted on the supported of:

WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature), is the largest conservation organization in the world, founded in Morges, Switzerland, with presence in over 90 countries.

WildAid is a conservation organization based in San Francisco, USA, with representatives in China, India, Galapagos, London and Canada.

Conservation International is an environmental organization based in Washington DC, USA, with a presence in over 45 countries.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is a direct action conservation organization to protect marine animals and ecosystems.


Applied marine research

Fisheries management

Marine control and monitoring

Our work

Applied marine research

Research on pelagic fish in the South-Eastern
Pacific Ocean

Status of sea cucumbers and lobster in the Galapagos Marine Reserve

Marine Bathymetry

Monitoring of
oceanographic conditions

Monitoring of marine ecosystems

Fisheries Management for the
development of the fishing sector

Fisheries monitoring in the Galapagos Marine Reserve

Monitoring and evaluation of sustainable artisanal fishing

Support of sustainable fisheries with
Fish Aggregator

Research on the use of traps for the sustainable capture of lobster

Training for
the fishing sector

and coastal

Marine Control and Monitoring

Marine control and surveillance


Directory, regulation, management, finances, etc.





Management of native
and endemic species

Control and eradication
of introduced animals

Control and eradication
of introduced plants

Island control and monitoring


Applied marine research

Management and support for fisheries

Marine control and monitoring


Visitor sites
and naturalist guides

Visitor management

Local participation,
quotas y patents


Environmental management
in populated areas

Special use
of protected areas

Agricultural development


Approved projects, applications, field
protocols, etc..