CDF scientists continue to train ABG staff in recognizing marine invasive species in Galapagos

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The Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) places significant emphasis on delivering local capacity building courses for partner organizations. Within this context, on July 15th and 16th, CDF held a marine invasive species identification workshop at the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island for staff members of the Galapagos Biosecurity Agency (ABG in its Spanish acronym). 

The principal aim of the CDF Marine invasive project is to minimize the negative impacts of marine invasives on marine biodiversity, ecosystems and on the overall health of the Galapagos Marine Reserve (GMR). The two day workshop was presented by CDF scientists Inti Keith and Priscilla Martinez – the project's principal investigators. 

Inti and Priscilla welcomed 10 ABG technicians and covered in detail the risks and threats of introduced marine species arriving to the GMR. ABG staff studied some of the species that could most likely find their way to the GMR, including an evaluation of possible routes and entry points. It was also an opportunity to analysis the measures currently in place for stopping marine invasives from entering the GMR in the first place. 

In addition, the workshop provided an open dialogue for discussing some of the current issues related to maritime traffic in Galapagos and the management of control activities by on-the-ground Galapagos institutions. All ABG technicians were evaluated at the end of the course and received a certificate of attendance. 

CDF receives no governmental funding for providing opportunities such as these; however, working with Ecuadorian public institutions and forging links with the community is a fundamental part of our mission in Galapagos. 

The project is coordinated alongside the University of Southampton and the Galapagos National Park Directorate. Other local, national and international partners include the Ecuadorian Oceanographic Institute (INOCAR), the National Directorate of Aquatic Spaces (DIRNEA), the Galapagos Biosecurity Agency (ABG), the Ecuadorian Navy and University of Dundee, Scotland. 

This project is possible thanks to funding support from Darwin Initiative, Galapagos Conservancy and the Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic Fund.