CIFAMAC is a local NGO located in Mejillones (northern Chile) a small village in the coastal Atacama Desert. It was founded by local fishermen and scientist together with the aim to protect the marine environment. Atacama Desert coast, despite to be the driest desert in the wold, has one of the most productive marine ecosystems thanks to the presence of Humboldt Current and upwelling phenomenon. The primary production in the coast of Mejillones Peninsula provides food to numerous marine megafauna. Blue whales, humpback whales, fin whales, bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, Dusky dolphins, Burmeister’s porpoise, sea lions and numerous sea birds species can be observed frequently in Mejillones Bay. However, Mejillones Bay is one of the most polluted bays in Chile due to the growth of mining industry in the Region. Human activities such as mining, shipping and fishing cause pollution, spills, collision risk and bycatch to several marine species and its environment. Thus, CIFAMAC aims to provide scientific information and environmental education to local communities, tourism operators, local and national Authorities regarding the importance to preserve this marine ecosystem.
The main objectives of CIFAMAC are:
To foster responsible marine wildlife-watching tourism.
To support marine research on marine fauna and ecosystems conservation.
To provide environmental education to local children, fishermen and tourism operators.
Currently we participate in the projects:
-Friend Fishermen: Citizen science and environmental education to promote marine fauna conservation in Mejillones Peninsula.
– Marine traffic and collision risk with cetaceans in Mejillones Bay.
– Abundance estimation, distribution, habitat use and threats of Burmeister’s porpoise in Mejillones Bay. In collaboration with the Porpoise Conservation Society (www.porpoise.org)
– Marine debris spatial distribution and its overlap with cetaceans’ distribution in Mejillones Bay.
– Whale entanglement: in January 2017 we successfully performed the disentanglement of a humpback whale in Mejillones Bay.