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Chinese Vessel Crew Detained in Galapagos Marine Reserve Sentenced For Transport and Possession of Endangered Sharks

A crew member from the Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 (Reuters)

August 30 2017 – On Monday an Ecuadorian judge sentenced the crew of a Chinese ship to prison terms ranging from 1-4 years for possession and transport of protected species within the Galapagos Marine Reserve. In addition, the crew of the vessel was fined US$5.9 million as reparation for the damages to the marine ecosystem. The vessel was confiscated and, if sold, proceeds will benefit the Galapagos National Park. The cargo vessel was caught earlier this month illegally transiting through the Galapagos Marine Reserve with a hull filled with 6,623 sharks, including juvenile hammerhead and silky sharks.

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Largest Wildlife Trafficking Bust in Galapagos

300 tons of sharks and fish were found on a Chinese cargo vessel this week (Galapagos National Park Service).

Earlier this week, a Chinese cargo vessel was caught illegally transiting through the Galapagos Marine Reserve with a hull filled with thousands of sharks and tuna.

The cargo vessel, the Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999, was detected using the Galapagos National Park Service’s new AIS monitoring system—procured and installed by WildAidWWF and Sea Shepherd earlier this year. The Galapagos National Park control center monitored its trajectory and vectored a patrol vessel to interdict. Galapagos Park Rangers and Ecuadorian Navy officials intercepted the vessel 34.5 miles off the coast of the island of San Cristobal and arrested its crew of 20. Upon inspecting its hold, they found 300 tons of frozen sharks and fish, including juvenile hammerhead and silky sharks.

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A Ride-Along with the Machalilla Park Rangers

Machalilla's new patrol vessel, the Megaptera (Gustavo Crespo)

It’s 7pm on a Tuesday in Puerto López, Ecuador. The Megáptera, a speedboat donated by WildAid to Machalilla National Park, lies in the sand. Two Machalilla Park Rangers, Rodrigo and Wilfer, check the tide to depart on a four-day patrol of Isla de la Plata.

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The U.S. takes a stance against seafood fraud and illegal fishing

New U.S. regulations will protect marine mammals, such as this sea lion, in international fisheries (Laura Wais)

Last month, the U.S. made an announcement that could help reduce illegal fishing and seafood fraud in foreign fisheries.

The U.S. will now increase traceability of seafood imports from high risk countries to ensure compliance with national and international fishing regulations. This legislation will complement regulations enacted last fall to ensure international compliance with American fishing standards for protecting marine mammals. Together, these regulations ensure that foreign fishers wishing to import their products into the U.S.—one of the largest seafood importers in the world—take measures to curtail illegal fishing in their waters.

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How to Strengthen Community Support for Marine Conservation

Palau's legendary rock islands

During our latest visit to Palau, a beautiful island nation between the Philippines and Indonesia, WildAid’s marine team explored some interesting approaches to strengthening support for marine conservation.

One of the greatest concerns among the nations we work with is how to ensure that communities support and respect marine regulations. In developing nations especially, communities often rely on marine resources to supply both daily nutrition and their economic livelihood. In coastal communities, fishing is a way of life and regulations can be seen as an intrusion into local tradition. Thus, community interactions must be important considerations in any enforcement plan.

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