The coast of Patagonia is a development frontier. The drilling and transport of oil at sea has been the principal source of revenue in the region for over 50 years and will continue to be a prime driver of the economy in the years ahead. Commercial fishing expanded rapidly in the 1990s, new industries appeared and coastal tourism grew exponentially towards the end ofthe XXth century. As a result, towns and cities have in some cases doubled in size in little over twenty years. Development has brought new challenges for conservation as the large concentrations of seabirds and marine mammals that make the coast of Patagonia unique are increasingly being threatened by habitat modification onshore and at sea. WCS is committed to helping governments, private sector and local communities plan the use of coastal zone resources to reduce harmful impact on wildlife while at the same time maximizing benefits for local people.
WCS seeks to ensure the continued existence of the large concentrations of marine birds and mammals that make the coast of Patagonia special.
WCS is helping create and strengthen protected areas on the Patagonian coast and at sea in the Southwest Atlantic that will help protect breeding and feeding areas for marine birds and mammals. We provide technical data, assist with the planning process and monitor the effectiveness of conservation efforts. We work with governments and the private sector to help plan and improve ecosystem management, provide solutions to correct some of the harmful effects of commercial fishing, limit the threat of marine pollution and reduce man made habitat destruction. We seek to raise public awareness of the value of the ocean and the importance of its preservation.
WCS and local NGO Fundación Patagonia Natural have worked together since 1992 with the support of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to develop and implement the successful Patagonian Coastal Zone Management Plan, a program that among other things, has helped reduce oil pollution at sea, trained fisheries observers, wardens and schoolteachers, increased the size and effectiveness of protected areas and engaged local communities in participatory management planning to improve coastal zone resource use.