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Aqua partners with CDF to support conservation in Galapagos

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The partnership will see Aqua Mare passengers hear from CDF delegates on board the vessel or at the CDF’s Marine Research Center
Aqua Expeditions entered into a partnership with the Charles Darwin Foundation to support conservation efforts in the Galapagos, including through fundraising.

The well-established CDF, one of the region’s largest conservation organisations, focuses on conserving the Galapagos’ biodiversity through scientific research. 

The collaboration aims to raise funds for the CDF’s Shark Ecology and Conservation, and Education and Outreach Programs which seek to protect and restore endemic shark populations, as well as promote effective mangrove conservation – critical nurseries for many shark species. 

Last month, Aqua Expeditions revealed it had entered into a global partnership with 4Ocean and applied to join The Science Based Targets Initiatives to help clean the world’s oceans, rivers and coastlines, and reduce carbon emissions. 

Fundraising 

Guest activation is a key element in the partnership. This includes CDF delegates educating passengers on board Aqua Mare or at the CDF’s Marine Research Center, with the aim of providing a deeper insight into the foundation’s conservation efforts. 

Passengers can also contribute to fundraising efforts through donations or the purchase of CDF merchandise on board the vessel. A $500 donation towards mangrove ecology will see 50 mangrove seedlings raised to restore a mangrove area affected by a volcanic eruption, while $500 towards shark ecology contributes to health checks for 10 sharks. This includes blood analysis for a population health study. 

Beyond the fundraising, Aqua has pledged an annual donation of $5000 to support the CDF’s Shark Ecology and Conservation, and Education and Outreach Programs. 

Shark ecology program

The CDF’s Shark Ecology and Conservation Program aims to evaluate the effectiveness of the Galapagos Marine Reserve in protecting endemic shark populations. The program focuses on understanding local distribution patterns, population status, movement patterns, and levels of connectivity of shark species within the archipelago. This information is then used to develop effective management plans for the long-term conservation and protection of these sharks. In addition, all this information is gathered as a baseline to study the effects of climate change on shark populations. 

Mangrove restoration

The CDF’s Mangrove Ecology Program supports the research and conservation of a critically understudied ecosystem, vital for climate change mitigation. It focuses on the identification of key mangrove areas that contribute to carbon storage, biodiversity, and marine protection.

Mangroves are the most efficient carbon capture and storage system in the world, storing more carbon per unit than any other ecosystem.