The Mitsui & Co. Environment Fund

Introduction to Grant Projects

Fundación de Investigación y Desarrollo de la Universidad Simón Bolívar (FUNINDES-USB) (Venezuelan NGO) (recommended by overseas office)

Investigating the biological and chemical impact of oil development on coral reefs in Los Roques National Park

Activity grant

Project Description

Coral reef fish species are an important source of food for the 70% of Venezuela's population that is concentrated in coastal areas, and there are concerns about the effects that the world's largest oil and gas development will have on the country's reefs. Rather than repair environmental damage caused by the development of marine resources, it is easier and more economical to formulate a crisis management plan to effectively manage any situations. Continuous monitoring in order to discover any impact on ecosystems at an early stage is crucial for this method. This project aims to conduct a short- to medium-term investigation into the biological and chemical conditions of reef ecosystems using a variety of observation tools in order to assess the impact of oil development. Specifically this means monitoring living organisms (benthic organisms, fish species), chemicals (chemical properties in water and sediment), and biomarkers (stress enzymes and hydrocarbon detoxicants) in the Los Roques Islands National Park.

Marine resources/foodPreservation of biodiversity and ecosystem
Grant year
FY2008 Activity Grants
Grant term
2 years
October 2008 - September 2010
Grant amount
9,612,000 yen
Activity region
One of the coral reefs in Los Roques National Park, Venezuela

Overview of the Organization

Chief Manager Elia García
Chief Manager Elia García
Establishment purpose
(1) Ecotoxicological research and monitoring of marine environments such as coral reefs that are easily affected by the rapid expansion of oil and gas industry, (2) designing and promoting sustainability laws that ensure a balance between oil and gas development and environmental conservation, (3) developing training for improving the skills of employees of environmental organizations.
Main area of activity
Caribbean Sea
3 full-time staff, 10 part-time staff
Annual operating budget
30 million yen in 2007
Recent activity
The project organization's Marine Ecotoxicology Research Lab (ECOMAR) has been developing and improving environmental assessment activities for the Venezuelan national oil company and foreign enterprises for over 20 years, including toxicology evaluation and analysis, environmental cleanup using living organisms, risk assessment, and ecological and chemical monitoring. In 1992, the Marine Science Technology Institute (INTECMAR) and ECOMAR collaborated with 20 research centers around the Caribbean to launch the first coral reef and water quality monitoring program in the Morrocoy National Park. In 2002, ECOMAR expanded its coral reef monitoring program to include three more reefs (two in the Los Roques Islands and one in Morrocoy). This activity has received UNEP-RCU/CAR support and has been advanced as the organization's primary project since 2002.