Science for the Conservation of Migratory Marine Species of the Eastern Pacific
Author: Cassandra Garduno
The Eastern Pacific is home to large populations of threatened migratory marine megafauna, including sharks, cetaceans, turtles, and seabirds. It is also subject to intense human impacts, including intense fishing pressure, boat traffic, pollution, and climate change.
Within the region, there are several World Heritage Sites (UNESCO), some of which have recently been expanded, while others are in the process of expansion. Since 2006, MigraMar – a network of researchers and conservationists from different organizations – has been dedicated to understanding the movements of these species within and between these marine protected areas.
By combining innovative methods of population monitoring and assessment to identify key migratory routes and foci of threat for these species, MigraMar aims to create two MigraVías (marine corridors) to link key habitats between Galapagos and Coco (Ecuador – Costa Rica), and Malpelo – Coiba (Colombia – Panama). The MigraMar database includes more than 1200 acoustic and satellite tags of different migratory species, including the hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini), the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), the silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis), the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas). ) and the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). These records show strong connections between oceanic islands, along different seamount systems.
By engaging the governments of Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, and Ecuador through the Eastern Tropical Pacific Marine Corridor (CMAR), MigraMar’s biological and oceanographic research efforts foster the use of innovative technologies for the management of the high seas to protect populations of highly migratory marine species.
Based on the experience of MigraVías in the Eastern Tropical Pacific, MigraMar is planning the management of marine megafauna connectivity conservation areas between the Gulf of California and Revillagigedo (Mexico), Revillagigedo and Clipperton (Mexico – France), Revillagigedo – Guadalupe – Channel Islands of California (Mexico – United States) and Juan Fernández – Rapa Nui (Chile).