Last week the Ecuadorian Government overturned a law that prohibited the export of shark fins from Ecuador. It is now legal to export the fins of these animals and the incidental catch of sharks is also now legal. With these new laws, shark fishing is out of control. There is no logical way to determine if the fishing of sharks was incidental, but fishing ships are returning to port with more sharks than ever before.
The population of sharks is in danger all over Ecuadorian waters, including Galapagos, where several fishing ships have been found illegally fishing inside the marine reserve. Furthermore, the Ecuadorian Government has not renewed the contract that it had with Sea Shepherd International, a company that provided ships to patrol Galapagos waters in search of illegal shark fishing.
The situation is a very sad one for the future of the Galapagos Islands. Sharks are amongst the most essential underwater creatures in a healthy marine environment and their future is very uncertain.
We ask all agencies to help and take action in any way that they can to stop this massacre. You can contact organizations that you work with to put pressure on the Ministry of the Environment ([email protected]), the Ministry of Tourism ([email protected]), and the presidency ([email protected]). Please send emails directly to those addresses, as well, expressing your opinions and concerns on the issue.
With enough resistance, we trust that these new laws can be overturned.