Venezuela, Bahia Amuay, crab fishermen. A unique partnership in Venezuela has conducted multiple objective planning to address competing needs for energy development and protection of marine resources. Photo © Eduardo Klein

Energy Development


Design and implement a comprehensive, ecoregional assessment that considers the needs for maintaining energy production while ensuring that objectives for biodiversity conservation are met.


Southern Caribbean Basin, Venezuela

Venezuela is among the top 10 most biologically diverse countries in the world, and its Southern Caribbean Basin is a center of extraordinary marine biodiversity. In addition to harboring a number of ecosystems inhabited by numerous threatened species, the basin is an important site for fishing and tourism. Due to the demand and pressures placed on its rich resources, the basin is at high risk of degradation. Although Venezuela has marine protected areas, especially in coastal waters, they cover only 3.4{2a5d6d1706341671d74cd9e261e7084f344be5d0ac8e3cb469aaa53c623578a6} of the country’s waters. As in most places, there is a struggle to effectively conserve and manage the protected areas. Investment is urgently needed to abate the numerous threats to this ecologically vital area and to significantly increase its level of protection.

Main Objectives

  1. Identify priority areas for the conservation of marine biodiversity in the Venezuelan Caribbean Sea, with special attention to places of potential interest to the oil and gas industry.
  2. Recommend best environmental practices to oil and gas companies to avoid or minimize impacts to ecosystems, biodiversity, and priority areas.
  3. Identify compensation areas that can be protected or restored to offset the residual impacts of oil and gas development. Residual impacts are those that occur despite avoidance and minimization.
  4. Support the creation of new national or sub-national parks.
  5. Recommend general policies and legislation changes to support biodiversity protection.

Project Partners

  • Universidad Simón Bolívar
  • Instituto de Tecnología y Ciencias Marinas (INTECMAR)
  • The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
  • Fundación de Investigación y Desarrollo (FUNINDES USB)
  • Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA)