Marine Ecotourism at El Hierro Island


The abundance and biomass of diverse fish species is larger in El Hierro Island than many other locations inside the Canarian Archipelago, as consequence of lower fishing pressures and more tropical environmental characteristics. The diving activities are the main driver of tourism flow towards the El Hierro Island. In the westernmost and smaller canarian island, more than 9 diving clubs are the main economic income source from ecotourism for the 10,000 inhabitants. Divers are attracted by the rich fauna associated to the conservation measures put in place around La Restinga - Mar de Las Calmas since 1996.

Additional remarks: 

Tuya, F., Ortega-Borges, L., Sanchez-Jerez, P & Haroun, R.J. 2006. Effect of fishing pressure on the spatio-temporal variability of the parrotfish, Sparisoma cretense (Pisces: Scaridae), across the Canarian Archipelago (eastern Atlantic). Fisheries Research, 77: 24-33. Tuya, F. GarcĂ­a-Diez, C., Espino, F & Haroun, R.J. 2006. Assessment of the effectiveness of two marine reserves in the Canary Islands (eastern Atlantic). Ciencias Marinas, 32(3): 505-522.

Category of best practice: 

Drivers of evolution (e.g. global and local change, dynamics of evolution, impact of human activities)
Biodiversity management (e.g. conservation ex situ and in situ, sustainable use and exploitation, rehabilitation, management of invasive species, pollutants, pesticides)
Governance and policies (e.g. interactions science/societies, regulations, decision-makers, networks, international collaborations)

Criteria used to define the best practice: 

Provision of further environmental and socio-economic benefits
Applicability/transferability to other regions
Good governance (involve relevant stakeholders and integrate different interests and perspectives and needs in part from local stakeholders)
Generating multiplier/imitation effects


Biodiversity and Conservation Research Group, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Contact details: 

Ricardo Haroun (, Fernando Tuya ( Fernando Espino

Geographic region: