B/P Milena, a fishing vessel from Manta, was observed entering the GMR at 1AM on Thursday, August 20th, and was spotted slowing down 37 miles south of Española via the satelite vessel monitoring system. The GNPS sent out the Sea Ranger 10 where it found the vessel towing seven additional fiberglass boats. The Milena was finally boarded five miles outside the GMR and possessed: 78 albacore, 110 swordfish, 1 marlin, 31 dolphin fish, & 21 sharks. The Milena, its crew of 26 and the seven fiberglass vessels were brought to San Cristobal where admin and legal procedures were initiated.
Newly installed satellite-based vessel monitoring system (VMS) has proved its worth already by leading to the arrest of illegal fishermen. The state-of-the-art system was financed and installed on May 20th,2009 by WildAid, Conservation International, the Walton Family Foundation, and Resorts World at Sentosa in cooperation with the Galapagos National Park Service and represents the culmination of three years of work.
Actress Bo Derek is in Toronto to launch WildAid Canada. WildAid is a leading force in combating the multi-billion dollarinternational trade in illegal wildlife products. Ms. Derek has been involvedin this issue for several years serving as a US State Department specialenvoy.
This issue made headlines in March with 3 Ontario men being charged with34 violations of Ontario law in a smuggling operation that included easternmassasauga rattlesnakes and spotted turtles.
Edgar Muñoz, GNPS Park Director, Fernando Ortiz and Oswaldo Rosero, local representatives of the conservation organizations Conservation International and WildAid, respectively, recently met to review advances of the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) project for the Galapagos Marine Reserve (GMR).
Currently, the project is in its final phase and over the next four months, we will procure and install the equipment and software required for the operation of the control center located at the GNPS Headquarters.