MarViva/CAVU Partnership Successful in Deterring Illegal Incursions in Marine Protected Areas

By February 9, 2009Uncategorized

Five months into their strategic partnership, CAVU and Fundacion MarViva are seeing success on the ground, and anticipating enforcement citations that will begin in March for illegal fishing operation incursions in protected waters.

In October 2008, CAVU began a partnership with Fundacion MarViva, and for the past five months, CAVU volunteer pilots have flown weekly surveillance patrols to enhance and support Fundacion MarViva’s efforts in the largely unprotected and biologically rich waters of the southern Pacific of Costa Rica. Together, CAVU and MarViva detect, deter and document illegal fishing operations through the use of regular aerial patrols that are carried out in conjunction with their sea-based presence. (These coastal areas include Parque Nacional Corcovado, Parque Nacional Marina Ballena, Isla del Cano Biological Reserve and nearby waters.)

MarViva promotes the safeguarding and creation of marine protected areas in oceanic and coastal areas in Latin America and the Caribbean. They provide support for the implementation of legislation to protect these areas, the enforcement of existing laws and efforts to establish new reserves. You can learn more about them at

With a Coast Guard officer aboard, MarViva patrol boats have been able to fully investigate reports CAVU makes about suspected incursions in protected areas. Just this week, CAVU’s photographs of a boat far inside protected waters provided the proof MarViva needed (when boarding the boat later, in legal waters) to reprimand the offenders, and inform them of current law. Today, MarViva is issuing warnings about protected areas. Beginning in March, enforcement will tighten when citations begin to be issued.

This exciting partnership makes use of CAVU’s aerial technology. Data is documented, tracked and reported, including GPS software files about the flight route, altitude, time of day, aircraft location, as well as photographs of the surveillance area(s). The CAVU-MarViva partnership has increased not only the efficiency of identifying illegal fishing operations, but also the ability to contact these operations and communicate the law to them.

CAVU and MarViva conduct these vital overflights each week, and a strong partnership continues to grow. Flight Program director Michele Gangaware says, “This is a perfect example of CAVU’s versatile Flight Program. Using flight to directly effect conservation action on the ground, or in this case, the sea, speaks to the effectiveness of CAVU’s programs and strength of our strategic partnerships. Myself, and everyone at CAVU, look forward to supporting MarViva’s efforts in conserving our marine resources.”

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