Despite the great importance of the coastal and marine biodiversity for the maintenance of environmental systems, the accelerated and disorganized occupation and use of coastal areas has increased the number of threats to its conservation.
The north coast of São Paulo and the south coast of Rio de Janeiro currently own one of the highest rates of vegetative growth in the country, which increases the anthropogenic threats, since this region is one of the largest preserved remnants of Atlantic Forest and coastal ecosystems in the country. The region, strongly cut by numerous streams and rivers originated in the ‘Serra do Mar’ and an infinity of protected bays and coves, offers shelter and food to several species of aquatic animals connected to the Atlantic Forest biome and a wide variety of marine animals.
The region is characterized by intense touristic flow and a significant fishing activity carried out along the coast. This set of activities results in a strong interaction of man and the fauna found in the region, causing a significant level of accidents with aquatic animals. The pressure of construction companies and subsequent occupation of the APPs – Permanent Preservation Areas, along riverbanks and streams are also factors that lead to high pressure on these animals. The presence of the largest oil terminal in Latin America and the recent work of expansion of the port in São Sebastião and gas exploration in Campo de Mexilhão increase the impact on coastal and marine ecosystems in the region.
The seasonal occurrence of debilitated animals such as pinnipeds, cetaceans, mustelids and seabirds (specially penguins) on the north coast of São Paulo and the south coast of Rio de Janeiro is a fact that has long been drawing the attention of institutions that work with conservation in the region. Currently when these animals are found by the local people or tourists they call the local Fire Brigade and Environmental Police that take them to the Institution.
Since its creation the Instituto Argonauta has been working in the rescue and rehabilitation of the aquatic fauna, using for this a temporary structure in a rented building, relying on the logistical support of the Aquarium of Ubatuba and other institutions.
The Aquarium of Ubatuba, since its foundation, has attended more than 1,600 animals, including seabirds such as penguins of Magalhães, seagulls and boobies; fish such as groupers and sharks and mammals such as dolphins, sea lions, seals and whales.
In partnership with the Instituto Argonauta for the Coastal and Marine Conservation there is the SOS Marine Animals, its main project being to improve the care and rescue of animals with the implementation of the project with the support and partnership of IBAMA – Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewed Resources, of CETAS – Triage Center of Wild Animals, focused on aquatic fauna, called “Centro de Reabilitação e Triagem de Animais Aquáticos” CRETA.
Today the Instituto Argonauta, sponsored by the Aquarium of Ubatuba and Petrobrás, built the CRETA in Ubatuba / SP with a physical structure that allows caring for mammals and aquatic birds in an area between the southern boundaries of São Sebastião / SP (23°21’20″ S) and the south of Angra dos Reis / RJ (23°00’24″S) thus covering the areas of the following municipalities: São Sebastião / SP, Ilhabela / SP, Caraguatatuba / SP and Ubatuba / SP, Paraty / RJ, Mambucaba / RJ and Angra dos Reis / RJ.