Marsh Award for Marine Conservation Leadership
The Marsh Award for Marine Conservation Leadership, run in partnership with Fauna and Flora International, has a specific focus on recognising those special people and organisations who are having a profound impact on marine conservation activities where they operate.
It particularly focuses on those who have been active in the communities, highlighting local leaders or organisations making a particularly special contribution to marine conservation through FFI’s three organisational aims:
• To secure the future of key threatened habitats and species.
• To address the root causes of biodiversity loss.
• To help others deliver conservation gains.
The 2016 winner is Allejandro Falabrino
Allejandro Falabrino began his career as a volunteer for TRAFFIC in South America in 1988 and for nearly 30 years has been fighting illicit wildlife trafficking, particularly for sea turtles.
Allejandro developed REDASO, a network of Research and Conservation of Sea Turtles in the South West Atlantic and today nearly 30 organisations work together as part of this network. This collaboration has made significant advances for sea turtle conservation including “Corredor Azul”, a marine net for sea turtle conservation.
In 1999, Allejandro founded Karumbe, a marine conservation NGO based in Uruguay. Karumbe proposed the creation of the first marine protected area in Uruguay, “Cerro Verde e Islas de La Coronilla”, which was approved in 2011. Due to the work of Karumbe since then, Uruguay is now firmly positioned on the world map as one of the most important areas for biodiversity conservation.
Allejandro works closely with local people and formed a local society working to preserve marine biodiversity. As a result of this society, local fishermen have been empowered to actively contribute towards the protection of the natural resources on which they depend for their livelihoods. The illegal trade of sea turtle shell has been completely eradicated and new marine protection areas were created.
Allejandro has trained hundreds of people from many countries and backgrounds that now have their own nature conservation projects in Latin America and Africa. He now plans to lend his skills to strengthening projects preventing plastic ingestion by sea turtles; the consumption of plastic fragments is a huge problem in Uruguay. He will continue to provide courses and training for young conservationists and hopes to create a permanent training centre for Latin American students interested in marine conservation. Allejandro is also passionate about supporting the designation of a protected area in el Rio de la Plata to provide protection for the endangered leather back sea turtle.
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