Jack Grove: “To take care of the Galapagos, the coasts of Colombia, Panama and Costa Rica must be protected”

This was stated by the American biologist Jack Grove, who made a recent visit to Ecuador. The scientist has traveled the Galapagos Islands more than 80 times

Yalilé Loaiza

July 19, 2021
From Quito

Panoramic view of the Ecuadorian archipelago of the Galapagos (Photo: EFE)

Jack Grove is a scientist, marine biologist, and naturalist who recently visited the Galapagos Islands. This is one of the more than 80 trips that the researcher has made in Ecuador to study marine species. This occasion would be foreboding given the diagnosis regarding the state of the archipelago which Grove suggests is disheartening.

Grove is a world authority on the study of marine fauna. In 1997, he first published The Fishes of the Galapagos Islands under the Stanford University Press imprint, co-authored with Robert Lavenberg. Grove has published more than twenty individual and joint scientific articles on the marine environments of the Galapagos Islands and their species, and has visited the archipelago since 1975 when he was 23 years old.

In the week-long visit, which ended yesterday, Jack Grove evaluated the environmental deterioration suffered by the Galapagos Islands as a result of the predation of species, the introduction of alien species, excessive fishing and uncontrolled tourism.

The solution to the problems of the islands is found in the establishment of international environmental policies because the Galapagos are not an isolated entity, but are influenced by the maritime territories of Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador.

When graphing the maritime limits, it is verified that the Galapagos and Costa Rican seas meet. The latter also share limits with the Panamanian and Colombian seas. This would suppose that the mutual currents will share species, but also waste. Ecuador is the only one of these countries that is separated from the waters of the Galapagos by the underwater Carnegie mountain range, which constitutes an alley of international waters. The Ecuadorian flag vessels, which set sail from mainland Ecuador, have to cross this area before reaching the insular [EEZ of] Ecuador.

The State of Ecuador is considering the expansion of its maritime border before the United Nations. The deadline to justify the increase based on the Convention of the Sea to which Ecuador is a party since 2012, prescribes one year [remaining] and would seek to expand the continental maritime platform by 107 thousand square kilometers, along the Carnegie mountain range and thus avoid the incursion of vessels straddling between the seas of Galapagos and continental Ecuador seeking the exploitation of endemic species of the region.

Grove ensures that the conservation effort has to be collective among these nations. Environmental preservation policies will not be enough if they are only applied in Ecuador. Some of the marine species are highly migratory and by leaving the protection of a certain point of [human] geography, they could perish.

Another high-impact factor is climate. Grove has already anticipated this in several collective scientific articles where the effects of the El Niño Phenomenon on fishing and the extinction of marine species were evaluated, as well as the damages of the massive fishing of Chinese vessels, from which marine species suffer in the Galapagos marine reserve and in the waters of Ecuador.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) ensures that the main sources of pollution in the Eastern Pacific Ocean are the discharge of wastewater not treated by municipal governments, agricultural waters that were not absorbed into the land and that travel through the soil through loose soil, discharges from boats and port operations, industrial pollution and oil operations, as well as plastics dumped into the sea.

According to the Galapaguista and scientist Jack Grove, the fact of sharing maritime borders requires Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador to find a solution for the Galapagos, a World Heritage Site by UNESCO declaration in 1978.

Read the original coverage from InfoBae at https://www.infobae.com/america/america-latina/2021/07/19/para-cuidar-a-las-galapagos-se-deben-proteger-las-costas-de-colombia-panama-y-costa-rica/

Informing and sharing news on marine life, flora, fauna and conservation in the Galápagos Islands since 2017
© SOS Galápagos, 2021


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