The INTERREG project known as MARCET, today begins its second stage of work and launches various scientific and technological research studies that will allow, over the next three years, to evaluate and analyze the impact of human activity in marine protected areas of the Macaronesian Atlantic. , using cetaceans as protagonists not only because they are considered emblematic species, but also because they are bioindicators of the good environmental status of the marine areas where they reside and umbrellas for the protection of the marine ecosystem. Likewise, this project will contribute to the development of environmental and economic sustainability criteria, with special attention to the activity of whale watching.
MARCET II in an initiative led by the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, through the University Institute of Animal Health and Food Safety (IUSA-ULPGC) and has the direct participation of fifteen other institutions and organizations from the four Macaronesian archipelagos that They are: PLOCAN, CETECIMA, Loro Parque Fundación, Turismo de Tenerife, CEAMAR, Universidad de la Laguna (ULL), Museu da Baleia de Madeira, Observatório Oceânico da Madeira, Instituto das Florestas e Conservação da Natureza IFCN IP-RAM), Direçao Regional dos Assuntos do Mar (DRAM), Universidade dos Açores, Direçao Nacional do Ambiente de Cabo Verde, National Institute for Fish Development (INDP), BIOS.CV and Associação de Biólogos e Investigadores de Cabo Verde (ABI-CV).
The first part of the MARCET project, started in 2017 and which has just concluded, was born with the aim of transferring and disseminating cutting-edge science and technologies to promote the sustainable development of tourist activity associated with whale watching, through the creation of and implementation of the MARCET Network, an interregional and multidisciplinary network that groups together specialist centers in monitoring and health monitoring of cetaceans and in operational oceanography, with the aim of integrating, harmonizing and optimizing knowledge, infrastructures and good practices in the region.
To this end, MARCET II is technically structured around three specific objectives, the first, considered key for the establishment of ecological and environmental sustainability criteria, integrates the use of advanced techniques of operational oceanography, as well as monitoring and sanitary surveillance of cetaceans. residents in marine protected areas and of special interest for carrying out such ecotourism activity in Macaronesia, using as main indicator species the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and the pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus), to evaluate the possible presence of risk factors of anthropic origin linked to these marine areas.
The other two objectives are aimed at enhancing the value of cetaceans as natural heritage and as a differentiated economic resource of special importance for the associated ecotourism sector in the Macaronesian region. In this sense, dissemination and awareness actions will be carried out on the diversity of cetacean species existing in the region, as well as the importance of protecting and conserving the marine areas where they reside. The third specific objective is to strengthen business activity for whale watching, as a model for sustainable economic development in the Macaronesian region.