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Camotillo (Paralabrax albomaculatus)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 13256088

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 13256088) - Camotillo - Awarded $15,000 on July 01, 2013

Galapagos is world renowned as a storehouse of unique terrestrial and marine biological diversity, and as a natural laboratory for biological evolution and speciation. This volcanic, oceanic archipelago was formed some four million years ago, 1,000 km west of the Ecuadorian Pacific coastline. It has 5 islands larger than 500 km2, 14 smaller islands, and more than 90 islets and rocks. Initially devoid of life, the islands were gradually colonized by a variety of life forms, many of which, continually isolated from the mainland, evolved into new species. Galapagos now supports a rich diversity of native flora and fauna, as well as a human population of 30,000 people.  Fishing is an important economic activity in the islands, and this project aimed to find out more about two important fish species so as to advise conservation managers on how these fisheries could be sustainably managed.  

Target species: Camotillo (Paralabrax albomaculatus)(IUCN Status: Endangered A2bd ver 3.1) and Bacalao (Mycteroperca olfax)(IUCN status Status: Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1) are important fisheries species in Galapagos, and management plans are urgently needed to ensure their conservation. 

The project objectives were:

(1) to quantify abundance and distribution of Camotillo and Bacalao throughout the archipelago; (2) to identify spawning and nursery grounds; (3) to conduct population assessment analysis; (4) to produce species specific management recommendations; and (5) to review and update their IUCN conservation status.

The proposed project has almost been completed and we are very satisfied with the results obtained thus far. Thanks to the research conducted over the past year, now we have solid, science based information about the life history, population status, and fisheries dynamics for both species. This information will translate into specific management recommendations for the Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD) and other local stakeholders so that a management plan can be implemented for both species. This will set a milestone in the management of the Galapagos Marine Reserve since, to date, no management plans exists for any of the 65+ exploited fish species. The implementation of management actions, such as the establishment of minimum and maximum landing sizes and seasonal closures, will be key steps to ensure the long term conservation of these endemic and socio-economically important species.

A total of eight senior scientists (PhD level), four junior scientist, one PhD candidate, four park rangers, three Galapagueño volunteers, and two Ecuadorian and one international undergraduate thesis students have been involved in the completion of this project. Once the project is entirely complete (through the use of counterpart funding) we this project should result in: the implementation of a management plan for both species, the completion of one PhD thesis, three BSc theses, over 1000 Galapagueño school kids involved in the outreach-educational campaign, and the publication of a minimum of four peer-reviewed journal articles.

Project 13256088 location - Ecuador, South America