It is first worth noting that all Galapagos fishers operate within the boundaries of the Galapagos Marine Reserve (GMR). In 1998 the Ecuadorian government extended the GMR from its 15-mile radius to a 40-mile radius surrounding the archipelago. The reserve now encompasses 133,000 square kilometers of ocean and 1,300 square kilometers of coastline, inflating the reserve's status to the third largest marine reserve in the world.
With this expansion also came the complete ban of industrial fishing though the GMR does allow for artisanal fishing and thus is not considered part of the National Park, which does not allow any extractive use. However, the National Park provides the majority of GMR funding.
The GMR incorporated no-take zones as part of its management strategy. These areas are designed to protect juveniles and the adults of commercially important groundfish stocks and are a new approach for marine management over the past decade. At present, no-take areas protect 8% of the Galapagos coastline, non-extractive use areas cover 10%, recreational/extractive fisheries 77% of the marine area, and coastlines special zones (near ports) cover the remaining 5%.
Photography by R. Wollocombe