Friend of the Sea’s support for the British charity will make it possible to complete the classification of plastic collected from the Archipelago’s beaches, addressing one of the main threats to the survival of the waved albatross.
The list of conservation projects involving Friend of the Sea® is growing. The World Sustainability Organization (WSO) programme is excited to announce a new partnership with UK charity, Galapagos Conservation Trust (GCT), to protect the waved albatross in the Galapagos Islands, an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Ecuador.
Through the support and donation that Friend of the Sea® will provide to GCT, it will be possible to complete the classification of plastic objects found on the beaches of the Galapagos Islands and analyse one of the main threats to the albatross, as well as to other marine and land species that are endemic to the islands.
The waved albatross is a giant bird, mostly found only in Galapagos, that has a wingspan of up to two and a half metres. They feed mainly on fish, squid and other invertebrates, often scavenging near fishing boats. They are also known to steal food from other birds, such as boobies.
The greatest threat comes from human activities, particularly fishing. Long-lining fishing boats lay out hundreds of miles of baited hooks that attract birds, and once they try to eat the bait, they can get hooked and often drown after being dragged underwater. The Galapagos Marine Reserve has banned long-lining, but once the birds leave the Reserve, they have no protection.
They are also at threat from marine plastic pollution, water pollution, oil slicks and chemicals. In addition, intentional harvesting of the albatross for human consumption and feathers has dramatically increased in recent years.
Galapagos Conservation Trust (GCT) is the only UK-registered charity to focus solely on the conservation of the Galapagos Islands, one of the most unique and ecologically essential but vulnerable areas in the world.
GCT supports impactful conservation programmes across the Archipelago, partnering with Ecuadorian authorities, NGOs, local communities, and leading scientists in Galapagos and worldwide.
By raising funds and awareness, GCT supports and delivers projects in Galapagos and responds to crucial threats facing the Islands, focusing on controlling invasive species, building climate resilience, stopping species extinctions and reducing human impacts. GCT also runs the Pacific Plastics: Science to Solutions regional network, looking at efforts to tackle plastic pollution and reduce risks to wildlife, including albatrosses, across the whole Eastern Pacific.
Founded in 2008 by Paolo Bray, Friend of the Sea® has become the leading global standard for products, food and non-food, and services that respect and protect the ocean and its resources. Friend of the Sea® has been developing its initiatives to protect endangered species and selecting conservation projects to provide support and funding to for years.
Galapagos Conservation Trust and Friend of the Sea® aim to classify approximately two thousand plastic objects collected by hand or identified through drone surveys from the beaches of the Galapagos Marine Reserve. This activity will determine the sources of the plastic and what risks it poses to the albatrosses.
Thanks to the Friend of the Sea® donation, a young researcher will be able to work on this study and compile a database that GCT will deliver to the Galapagos National Park management.
GCT will then include the information in a report published in 2023 that will summarise the results of the Plastic Pollution Free Galapagos project that GCT has been leading for five years.