Galapagos Marine Reserve (extension of the Galapagos Islands)
The Committee recognized that the Marine Reserve met natural heritage criteria. However, in accordance with the recommendation of IUCN and the wish of the Observer of Ecuador, it deferred the inclusion of the Galapagos Marine Reserve as an extension of World Heritage site of Galapagos. The Committee commended the Ecuadorean authorities for their efforts to enlarge the World Heritage property to include marine habitats extending to 15 nautical miles from the islands. It also noted the proposal of the Ecuadorean authorities to extend marine habitats up to 40 nautical miles. But the Committee was seriously concerned that the proposed Marine Reserve and the Galapagos Islands faced the following threats to their integrity:
- overfishing and illegal fishing of a wide range of species;
- human pressures from the local population (growing at an estimated rate of 8.5% per year, mainly due to immigration) and tourism on both terrestrial and marine resources;
- inadequate management capacity and infrastructure;
- adverse impacts of introduced animals and plants;
These threats call for mitigative action vis-a-vis:
- augmenting management capacity;
- encouraging institutional cooperation;
- stepping up law enforcement, and
- conducting research on sustainability of resource use in the Marine Reserve.
The Committee noted the commitment of the Ecuadorean Government which, in cooperation with IUCN, the Centre and a number of international conservation organizations, is considering several measures to ensure protection of the Marine Reserve and the Galapagos Islands. Furthermore, the Committee was informed that the Ecuadorean Government was considering a donors' conference in early 1995 to propose a series of actions to mitigate the prevailing threats to the integrity of the Marine Reserve and the Islands, as well as a financial plan for the implementation of those actions. Hence, the Committee requested IUCN and the Centre to report back to the Bureau at its nineteenth session on progress made to strengthen the conservation of the Marine Reserve and the Islands.