Sustainable Fisheries in the Galera-San Francisco Marine Reserve

Instituto Nazca
Publicado: 13 Octubre 2015
Última edición: 29 Marzo 2019
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The Galera-San Francisco Marine Reserve is one of the most important zones for biodiversity conservation in coastal Ecuador. Local residents are heavily dependent on it, with artisanal fishing as a core activity. The fishing association Arte Langosta and the Nazca Institute created a participatory management system which promotes the protection of biodiversity and sustainable local development. Stakeholders and authorities develop an effective governance model with fair economic alternatives.


Scale of implementation
Ecosistemas marinos y costeros
Pesca y acuicultura
Cosecha insostenible, incluida la sobrepesca
Pérdida de ecosistemas
Falta de conciencia del público y de los responsables de la toma de decisiones
Deficiente vigilancia y aplicación de la ley


Muisne, Esmeraldas Province, Ecuador | Galera-San Fransisco Marine Reserve


  • Diminishing fish resources
  • Deterioration of marine ecosystems
  • Defective management and control of the execution of regulations and of the quality of the catches
  • Low coordination between the local fishers
  • No data about the most important fish stocks
  • Strong but inequilibrated interdependence of traders and fishers
  • Restaurants and fish-stores without transparency and support for sustainability


  • Artisanal fishers' association
  • Reserve managers responsible for enforcement
  • The entire national reserve system

¿ Cómo interactúan los building blocks en la solución?

= will be added = (available in Spanish)


Social: • The fishers association has more fishing autonomy, is better organized and has more management capacities. • Continuously more fishers want to join the project, there is more interest for environmental issues and environmentally friendly fish as well as an increasing support for fishing regulations. Economic: • An enhanced remuneration for the fishers was achieved, with 60% revenue for the fisher and 40% for the association which is the owner of the fishing boats. • The fishers are selling their catch directly without any traders that could monopolize the prices of fish. • A lot of fishers could reinvest their revenues into the improvement of their housing and installations for the access to basic supplies. Ecologic: • Through a fishing ban of the green spiny lobster at the Cape of San Francisco for two years, the population was able to recover. • Less incidents of unintentional turtle and shark catches were recorded as fishing techniques changed and protected areas are enforced. • Single yarn and trawl nets have almost completely been vanished.


María Cecilia Terán, President of the Nazca Institute: Arte Langosta is a Cabo San Francisco community partnership supporting low-impact lobster fishing. In February 2012, a group of fishermen who were not involved in this conservation agreement started harvesting the recovered lobster populations without respecting minimum sizes or area closures. Armed with machetes, sticks, and stones, Arte Langosta members tried to defend the resource they had so carefully managed for more than two years. Despite their efforts to stop the exploitation, they could not prevent the lobster stock from collapsing again. “After that conflict, we feared for our personal safety and had to stop the project and leave the area for a while”, said Ms. Terán. “However, we were surprised to see that the fishermen who participated in our programme did not return to fish lobster in the meantime.” In retrospect, the conflict was a good learning opportunity. More area fishermen became engaged in responsible fishing activities, sharing their experiences and knowledge to inspire others. This led to increased interest in joining the initiative. Today, even the fishermen who once caused the armed dispute realise that the sustainable use of marine resources is key to guaranteeing long term socio-economic benefits.

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María Cecilia Terán Instituto Nazca

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Instituto Nazca