FILMAR: Promotion of public participation in marine mammal research in areas of the Natura 2000 network

Created July 1, 2021, 6:39 a.m.
Updated July 1, 2021, 6:39 a.m.

The sea and its coasts are recognized engines of the economy worldwide for their great potential for innovation and growth (Report of the European Commission, 2012). The European Union (EU) pays particular attention to outermost regions such as the Canary archipelago, identifying it as an ideal laboratory for the blue economy to export knowledge and technology. The Canary Islands have an exceptional wealth of natural and cultural resources that allows the configuration of a wide range of leisure and outreach activities. While it supposes multiple benefits, certain precautions must be considered in its development, in order to avoid unwanted impacts in an environment as fragile as the marine one. The archipelago is home to 24 Special Marine Conservation Areas (ZEC), some with conservation problems for cetaceans, due to the overcrowding of commercial sighting activity. The project is developed coinciding with the start of the activity in El Hierro, representing a unique opportunity for the activity on the island to be oriented towards a sustainable and respectful model with the environment, based on the education and awareness of citizens. In Tenerife, the activity is in a mature phase of development and demands the enhancement of natural heritage by society. The applied research derived from the project will be directed to this end, through the participation of different social sectors; tourists, unemployed and school children, among others, in the generation of scientific knowledge through citizen networks, with the dual objective of collecting and disseminating information on cetaceans, as well as developing in the population a sense of belonging and protection of natural values.


The project consists of three interrelated actions aimed at involving citizens in marine science and which, at a general level, cover aspects such as science open to society, sustainability models, scientific data and advanced training. Specifically, the objectives of the project are:

  • Encourage public participation in research projects to generate scientific knowledge, through the development of applications that allow society to practice science and the incorporation of citizens into research teams, to collect data in areas of special conservation within of the Natura 2000 Network (ZEC ES7020057 Mar de Las Calmas and ZEC ES7020017 Marine Strip of Teno-Rasca).
  • Contribute to the transfer of scientific-technical research results and innovation financed with public funds, showing the capacity of open science as a tool to increase the sustainability of the nautical tourism sector related to whale watching.
  • Offer scientific-technical education to the whole of Canarian society in the use of innovative techniques for the research of marine mammals, forming permanent action groups on different islands.

How to participate

Contact the project coordinator for participation in the next field campaign

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