Los Roques archipelago national park.
Decreed as a park in 1972 as a tribute to the one hundred years of the creation of the first national park in the world, the Yellowstone national park. The Los Roques archipelago with its bio diversity and colorful landscapes had been almost untouched, the reason its distance from the coast which protected it from the industrial discharge, cities, sea transport as well as the massive inflow of visitors. The archipelago was visited in pre Columbian times (almost 1000 years) and later in the 17th century, as a matter of fact there were industrial activity such as salt mining, timber and tannin from mangrove, limestone from coral and guano, bird droppings used as fertilizer. Almost a century after the cease of these activities, only the expert eyes can identify the traces left by those customs.
Fishing activity has lasted throughout time and although its relevance has changed greatly, it has always been important food for small settlements and slums. It is from 1950 with the arrival of ice for and motor boat engines that fishing becomes the predominant economic and social activity. However it has always been basically a craft activity and among the most abundant species are lobster, Botuto and others.
Towards the late 80´s and early 90's a great change took place which gave way to the archipelago we know today: tourism. A few adventurers and well off Venezuelans were the first ones to try the excellence of the Los Roques environment for relaxation and pleasure. Los Roques receives approximately 80,000 visitors per year.
The first investigations in the archipelago.
The first steps towards the preservation of the archipelago were taken by scientists who on numerous investigation campaigns emphasized the cultural and bio diverse richness present in the set of keys.
Fernando Cervigon one of the pioneers in the study of Venezuelan marine fauna, tells in his book Las Dependencias Federales about these expeditions.
He mentions that in the 16th century the exiting cartography gave origin to the name, which went from "La Roca" to "Los Roques". He also mentions the participation of naturalists, from the botanic Adolfo Ernst in 1871 up to the visits done by the La Salle society of natural sciences which in the 50´s carried out the first multidisciplinary approximation to the richness in biodiversity in this landscape. (ictiofauna, herpetofauna, crustaceous, and flora).
In 1963 the Los Roques scientific foundation established its laboratories and facilities in Dos Mosquises and together with the collaboration of the University of Venezuela (UCV) and Simon Bolivar including the American universities, Harvard and Miami have carried out the most recent works on archaeology, fish, turtles, corals, fishing and oceanography.