Home to over 200 species of mollusks, 50 species of crustaceans and at least 400 species of fishes - including the discovery of seven new species of fishes and crustaceans during the research phase of the project - the Gulf of Paria and adjacent Orinoco Delta are one the Caribbean's richest areas in aquatic biodiversity. While many of the local communities, including the indigenous Warao group, rely on this marine life for economic survival, the area is under increasing pressure from rapidly expanding petroleum production and unsustainable fishing practices that are depleting local fish and shrimp stocks.
"The Gulf of Paria is located in a very important area for marine species richness which many communities in the region rely on for their livelihoods. It is also an area of rapidly growing interest for the petroleum industry," said Dr. Assheton Carter, Director of Energy and Mining at Conservation International. "That is why it is important to work with companies like ConocoPhillips to not only minimize their own environmental footprint, but to engage them and others to make a positive contribution to sustainable development and conservation in the region."
Some key recommendations in the Biodiversity Action Plan include: