The institution

The University Institute of Aquaculture and Sustainable Marine Ecosystems (IU-ECOAQUA) is a research centre of excellence assigned to the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria - ULPGC.

It was born as a milestone in the EcoAqua project, in wich the EU, through the HORIZONTE 2020 Programme, focuses on promoting centres of excellence for research and innovation within the framework of the European Research Area (ERA). Thus, IU-ECOAQUA is constituted to promote research, innovation and posgraduate training in aquaculture, as well as the conservation and sustainable use of coastal resources. 

It is a multidisciplinary Institute that brings together experts from different areas of knowledge, with a long history of international cooperation and development.

The organization and management of the research activity is configured around four research groups: GIA (Aquaculture Research Group), BIOCON (Group of Biodiversity and Conservation), EOMAR (Group of Ecophysiology of Marine Organisms), TOTMA (Group of Tourism, Territorial Planning and Environment).

The ECOAQUA University Institute participates in the Interreg Europe project 'CAPonLITTER' through the BIOCON Research Group, as coordinator of the activities and actions to be carried out in Spain and in the Fuerteventura Reserve of Biosphere (RoB). This place was chosen by the project as the ideal area in the Canarian Archipelago to apply 'Zero Plastic' policies on the island because it is an active member of the World Islands and Coastal Biosphere Reserve Network (
WICBRN), and being a territory prepared for the development of these ecological policies already has among its priority objectives the reduction of the use of plastics. 

In this sense, the Cabildo of Fuerteventura, through its Department of the Environment, is firmly committed to reducing the use of plastics on the island and advocates being a sustainable destination with zero plastic, as demanded by citizens and European institutions. The Biosphere Reserve has also been declared a member of the Zero Plastics Working Group in the World Network of Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves (ZERO PLASTIC). 

The team

Ricardo Haroun is coordinator of CAPonLITTER actions, as Project Partner 9. PhD in Biological Sciences since 1988 and Professor at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Ricardo is currently deputy director of the IU-ECOAQUA and Director of Biodiversity and Conservation Group (BIOCON), with extensive experience in numerous regional, national and international research projects.   

Candy Cecilia is the project manager of CAPonLITTER, as Project Partner 9.  Graduate in Tourism and Master in Integrated Development of Tourist Destinations, she has experience in the technical and economic implementation of projects, as well as in the dynamization of courses and workshops in the hotel industry. 

For a better development of the actions in the framework of CAPonLITTER, IU-ECOAQUA also count on the collaboration of Inmaculada González (Prof. ULPGC) and Yaiza Fernández-Palacios (Post-Doc Researcher), who, from their knowledge and experience, contribute relevant ideas in the field of environmental and tourism legislation, corporate social responsibility, Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM), Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), conservation and citizen science.

By bringing their expertise, the IU-ECOAQUA contributes to the success of the CAPonLITTER project and its objectives.

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Photo credits of the Fuerteventura Biosphere Reserve: Bruno Lanzarote .