Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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Project Summary
Integrated coastal management, Rio de la Plata, Uruguay (ECOPLATA)   

Revision Date: 30th October, 2001
Title:  Integrated coastal management, Río de la Plata, Uruguay (ECOPLATA). (Former title: The health of the Río (Uruguay)).
Goal: To contribute to the integrated management of the coastal area of the Rio de la Plata and promote the sustainable use of coastal resources.
Location: The Rio de la Plata estuary divides Uruguay and Argentina. The project focuses on the northern shore of the Rio de la Plata (the southern coast of Uruguay), in Colonia, San José, Montevideo, Canelones and Maldonado Departments, as well as three pilot areas near Montevideo city.
Starting date: Scientific data collection began in 1993; the integrated management project began on 1st March, 1998.
Partners: Uruguayan institutions: National Environment Office and National Physical Planning Office of the Ministry of Housing, Territorial Planning and Environment; National Office of Aquatic Resources of the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries; Oceanographical, Hydrological and Meteorological Service of the Navy, Ministry of Defence; Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Social Science of the University of the Republic.
Canadian institutions: International Development Research Centre; Dalhousie University; Atlantic Geoscience Centre and Marine Fish Division at Bedford Institute of Oceanography; Atlantic Centre for Estuarine Research at Acadia University; the Toxicology Unit at Environment Canada.
United Nations agencies: United Nations Development Programme; United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization through the Coastal Regions and Small Islands (CSI) platform.
Project leaders:

National Coordinator: Dr. Walter Couto, Av. Brasil 2655, 11300 Montevideo, Uruguay.
Tel: 598 2 709 2550, Fax: 598 2 709 6176
e-mail: ecoplata@adinet.com.uy
Coordinator of the Canadian team: Dr. Robert Fournier, Department of Oceanography, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 4H6, Canada.
Tel: 1 902 494 3666, Fax: 1 902 494 3666
e-mail Robert.Fournier@dal.ca

Description: Following an ‘Environmental and Socio-demographic Analysis’ in 1998, pilot areas were defined for further work on conflict resolution over resource use, environmental protection and the restoration of degraded areas.
Two pilot areas have been defined: (1) the area located between the Carrasco and Pando Rivers, and (2) the area between Playa Pascual and Punta Espinillo. In addition, work is being done in the zone known as the Saline Front (Frente Salino) of the Rio de la Plata, which is important for the reproduction, spawning and recruitment of commercially important fish species on which the fisheries depend, especially the artisanal one.
The project brings together several governmental institutions with responsibilities at the national, municipal and local levels, the University of the Republic, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and stakeholders in the demonstration pilot areas, to promote environmentally responsible attitudes through research, education and training, and information sharing.

The main activities are as follows:
(1) In the two pilot areas, working groups have been set up in the fields of spatial planning, environmental quality and artisanal fisheries. The working groups include professionals, local commissions, NGOs, senior citizens, private and public educational institutions, traders, and members of the Municipal Governments of San José, Montevideo and Canelones.


In the Frente Salino area, the activities have focused on research into the reproduction and spawning of the main fish species and their relationship with environmental conditions. Emphasis has been on the improvement of fishing methods.
(3) Analysis of the physical features of the coastal zone (beaches, ravines, rocky shores, dunes), and present land use (housing, tourism, agriculture, port and industrial facilities) is being carried out by a technical team on Planning and Management Policy Development.
(4) A demographic characterization and an economic valuation of coastal resources and activities (industrial, mining, artisanal fisheries, tourism), is being conducted to provide a baseline for land use planning in the coastal zone.
(5) All the information obtained and processed by the technical teams is incorporated into a Geographical Information System (GIS). 
Achievements & Assessment: (1) Working groups comprising professional staff, representatives of national and local institutions, and stakeholders, have been formed to implement actions to solve identified issues in the pilot areas.
(2) An environmental and socio-demographic analysis of the project area ‘Diagnóstico Ambiental y Socio-Demográfico de la Zona Costera Uruguaya del Rio de la Plata’, has been published and can be accessed at the ECOPLATA project website (http://www.ecoplata.org.uy).


A report on land use and economic activities ‘Recursos naturales y actividades económicas en la zona costera del Río de la Plata’, has been published.  
(4) A complete review has been published of the ordinances and legal instruments relating to the coastal zone in the project area, ‘Recopilación de Normas y Reglamentos relacionados con la gestión costera del Río de la Plata’ .
(5) A Coastal Park Plan has been designed for an area of the Carrasco-Pando pilot area.
(6) Conflicts over resource use have been identified in some areas.
(7) Following evaluation of the solid wastes on beaches of the Carrasco – Pando pilot area, a plastic recycling programme was conducted, involving students and parents of local schools in the Carrasco – Pando pilot area, in association with a private company.
(8) Indicators of capture pressure in the most important fisheries species have been identified.
(9)   A study of the influence of physical and chemical factors in the reproduction and growth of the croaker has been conducted.
(10) Fishing gear has been developed to reduce the bycatch of croaker juveniles.
(11) The artisanal fishermen’s settlements of Pajas Blancas, Santa Catalina and San Luis and their impact on the environment have been characterized.
(12) A GIS has been developed from freely available software, to compile and analyse all the information and data. This will be used to develop management tools.
Future Directions: (1) Replicate the successful activities in other areas.
(2)   Prepare a physical development plan for the Uruguayan coastal zone of the Rio de la Plata.
(3)  Encourage greater focus on policy through relevant research.
(4) Strengthen the relationships among the ECOPLATA institutions and involve additional public institutions.
(5) Create a Foundation for sustainable financial support.
(6) Strengthen links to government.
(7) Provide opportunities for the private sector to participate in specific activities.
(8) Enhance stakeholder participation.


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