The aim of this project was to promote awareness of the biological and socio-economic values of the Canarian coastline among coastal users. Other underlying objectives included designing best practices for management and sustainable use of the littoral resources. The working team had two complementary divisions: research and education.
Objectives of the research division:
- Analyse the characteristics and environmental quality of the marine biological communities.
- Determine the conservation status of selected marine species and ecosystems.
- Analyse the relationship between the human population and the natural environment as well as the pressures it supports.
- Study ecological processes in intertidal and shallow subtidal ecosystems.
Activities: Sampling every six months in over 100 intertidal and subtidal sites of the Canary Islands for the evaluation of marine biodiversity and water and sediment quality. Sampled areas include: rocky intertidal areas, brown algae forests, sea-urchin barren grounds and seagrass meadows. Sampling sites are in both pristine and anthropogenically stressed areas, in order to assess the effects of the different pressures (pollution, shell fishing activity, urban development, marinas, etc.).
An assessment of the environmental quality of coastal areas in the Canary Islands was produced. Littoral environmental quality bioindicators and inputs to the Canarian list of endangered species are only some of the results which will contribute to the generation of tools for ICZM in the Canary Islands.
Objectives of the education division:
- Raise public awareness of the environmental and natural values of the Canarian coastline.
- Support the education of the Canarian population and visitors towards the sustainable use of the natural resources.
- Enhance public participation in diverse coastal activities.
- Develop a full range of educational tools for diverse social groups (schools, handicapped collectives, silver-age groups, etc.).
These objectives are mainly achieved through three different types of actions: an exhibition, the design of educational materials and activities with social groups.
The exhibition included display panels, models and an aquarium, which explain details not only about the tides, biodiversity and different coastal landscapes, but also about the traditional and modern activities developed in the coast and the conservation and management issues. It was on display in the main cities and villages within the seven islands and was the focal point for different educational activities carried out.
Educational materials and accompanying materials for teachers have been designed to promote the sustainable use of natural values among students from primary school level to university. The contents are complemented by visits to the exhibition and guided trips to the intertidal area.