The effort, which Moity began three years ago with the support of a grant from WWF’s Marine Biodiversity Fund, is now part of DiveStat, an official program of the Galápagos National Park with the support of the Ministry of Tourism, Charles Darwin Foundation, and WWF-Ecuador . DiveStat’s ultimate goal is to help boost the “ocean economy” in the Galápagos in a sustainable way—ensuring that tourism and livelihoods can flourish while minimizing any impact on its irreplaceable ecosystem.
Divers play an important role in the islands. Compared to typical tourists, who spend 5-7 days in the Galápagos, scuba divers spend an average of 10 days “Before DiveStat, a lot of divers came to the Galápagos,” says Juan Carlos Izurieta of the Tourism Ministry. ”But we didn’t know how many of them there were, what were their demographic characteristics, and what they were doing underwater.”