Wednesday, April 27, 2011

375 Illegally-Caught Sharks Found in Boat off Galapagos Islands

Photo courtesy: Joi via Flickr

The Galapagos Islands is an incredibly sensitive environment unlike no other on earth. Due to its isolation, species have evolved there that have evolved nowhere else. The Galapagos are also supposed to be protected due to the fragility of the microcosm.

Too many times we hear about projects that are being put into place because of their supposedly environmentally-friendly solution to the problem at hand. With a huge hew and cry, the project is implemented and we are left to be disappointed when the rules are not enforced; and, nothing seems to really change.

It is so heartwarming to hear that at least Ecuador is taking the enforcement of protecting the Galapagos Island shark reserve seriously. A refreshing change from the usual *wink, wink, nudge, nudge* approach taken by many enforcement agencies.

According to the AP, Ecuadorean authorities stopped a boat that was fishing illegally in the protected waters of the Galapagos Islands national park. The boat was boarded and 357 dead sharks were found. The captain and crew were caught red-handed.

"The government news agency says criminal proceedings will be pursued against the crew of the Ecuadorean fishing boat. The report says the boat was detained Tuesday southeast of Genovesa island inside the marine reserve...It is prohibited to catch, sell or transport sharks in the reserve."

What a breath of fresh air. All that remains now is to see if these fishermen are indeed punished. This case could create headlines worldwide; and, serve as an example of what can be accomplished if our environmental watchdogs are vigilant.

Let's hope we are not let down and that this is just one step on the journey to save the sharks of the world.

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