The most critical ecological challenge facing the Galapagos Islands is the introduction of invasive species. It is estimated that at least two new species arrive on the islands every year, most likely ‘hitch-hiking’ on food or food packaging. In 2008, Sven Lindblad conceived of the OPUS Project, a plan to significantly mitigate food borne, introduced species entering the Galapagos Islands from the mainland.
The OPUS Project started in 2009. In January 2015, Gary Jenanyan was appointed Principal Investigator/Project Manager of OPUS Project-Galapagos-Clean Potato Project.
The OPUS Project was awarded a grant to develop a system to purchase, wash and process potatoes and other vegetables on the mainland of Ecuador for delivery to The Galapagos Islands, without introducing invasive species. Working in concert with the Ministry of the Environment, the Agency for Biosecurity of Galapagos and the Ministry of Agriculture (MAGAP), this process aspires to become a model for how all produce arrives to the Galapagos Islands and to other fragile environments globally.