Shark Poachers Caught Red-Handed in the Galapagos
The Galapagos Marine Reserve (GMR) is one of the largest Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in the world. Since 1998, WildAid has been working with the Galapagos National Park Service (GNPS) in developing a comprehensive enforcement strategy to patrol and protect the GMR, where commercial fishing is prohibited.
In 2009, WildAid helped implement a Satellite Vessel Monitoring System (SVMS) to track the exact position and speed of all large vessels traveling within the reserve on an hourly basis. In the first year, 32 vessels were apprehended using SVMS and the Rapid Response Patrol Fleet.
Here is a timeline of a recent arrest:
On July 9, 2011, the GNPS was notified via SVMS that a commercial fishing boat from the mainland of Ecuador, the Fer Mary I, was stationed 20 miles within the reserve. They dispatched a patrol vessel, the Sea Ranger, to investigate and discovered that the Fer Mary was fishing within the protected area.
The Fer Mary and six accompanying fiberglass vessels were using long-lines to fish for sharks and other pelagic species. All shark fishing and the use of long-lines is prohibited within the reserve.
The GNPS boarded the culprit vessel to investigate and found approximately 30 crewmen, including two minors, aboard.
The GNPS examined the cargo, namely the carcasses of hundreds of sharks.
In total, they found 379 sharks, including 303 thrasher sharks, 24 blue sharks, 42 silky sharks, 5 scalloped hammerheads, 2 tiger sharks, 2 Galapagos sharks, and 1 shortfin mako shark.
The suspects were apprehended and the goods were confiscated and brought to the nearest port where the prosecutor’s office is currently working on the case.
To learn more about WildAid’s work in The Galapagos Marine Reserve, visit WildAid.org.