THE PINK DOLPHIN 24/07/2017
“The Pink Dolphin” is the official blog of SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras
Conservation organization WWF has expresssed its rejection of industrial fishing within the waters of the Galapagos Marine Reserve and the entry of non-permitted vessels to the protected area, following the recent seizure of a Chinese flagged ship loaded with species whose capture is illegal.
In a statement, WWF Ecuador director Hugo Arnal warns that these actions threaten the integrity of the ecosystems and biodiversity of this important ‘Natural Heritage World Site’, according to Unesco.
He also welcomes the action performed by the Ecuadorian Navy with the support of the Ministry of Environment in the recent capture of the Chinese vessel, which it considers shows “the country’s interest in enforcing respect towards this important marine protected area.”
The NGO points out that the images of the detained boat show that in its holds it carried shark species listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), such as the fox shark (Alopias Pelagicus) and hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini). There are also some species of the genus Carcharhinus, including probably the silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis), which also appears in Appendix II of CITES.
“Galapagos Marine Reserve is a large breeding and repopulation area for the eastern Pacific Ocean, and fishing boats are taking advantage of what comes out of it, known as the ‘spill-over’ effect,” explains Arnal.
On the other hand, WWF highlights that the capture and seizure of the boat were made possible thanks to the electronic control and monitoring systems installed in the Galapagos by the Ecuadorian Government with the support of organizations such as WWF, Sea Shepherd, SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras, WildAid and Conservation International, to be used by the Direction of the Galapagos National Park and the Navy of Ecuador.
“This incident occurs at a time when the traceability of fishery products is being debated worldwide, discussing issues such as high sea fish transhipment by longline fishing vessels to cargo ships, which are the ones that finally take the catch to port. This activity, if not properly controlled, can become a point of entry for illegally caught fish to enter the marketing chain of legal products,” warns WWF-Ecuador director.
Given the seriousness of the infringement, Arnal considers that “it would be of the utmost importance for the authorities to verify whether or not the detained vessel is in the records of vessels authorized to operate legally in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.” And if it is not found in such records, he states that “it should be reported to the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission to be immediately included in the lists of vessels engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing of this regional fisheries organization”.
The director of WWF-Ecuador said that they will request a hearing with the Chinese diplomatic delegation in Ecuador to expose and deepen the exposed statements in in the issued communiqué.
In addition, the NGO appeals to large countries with significant industrial fishing fleets, such as the People’s Republic of China, “to strengthen controls on their fishing fleets and to ensure respect for the territorial waters of smaller countries”.
WWF ensures it will continue to support the efforts of the national Government to safeguard Galapagos and preserve not only this archipelago but also all the Ecuadorian coasts.
Source: FIS World News
Editorial note: Article has been edited to reflect reality of organizations taking direct action in the Galapagos.
Illegal Fishing and trafficking in shark fins, sea cucumbers and many other endangered species has been going on for decades. Ex-President Correa, probably the most negative figure for environment protection in the history of Ecuador, has compounded the problem by reducing the protected area around the Galapagos Marine Reserve, from 200 to 12 miles. In so doing, Correa was oblivious, for whatever motive, to the nature and extension of migration patterns of the majority of fish, sharks in particular, which utilize the Galapagos as their natural breeding grounds. This unique archipelago is now under serious threat.
UNESCO and the majority of environmental organizations sit back, observe and comment on these disgraceful events. In the end, nothing gets done. I believe that it is time to reverse the ongoing negative trends and put a halt to the shark fin mafias, once and for all.
From personal experience and based on joint actions in the past, SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras can confidently suggest that the only person and organization capable of such an undertaking is Captain Paul Watson and Sea Shepherd. We recommend urgently supporting Sea Shepherd’s Operation Treasured Islands.
Pieter Jan Brouwer – Editor.
OPERATION TREASURED ISLANDS
Help Sea Shepherd protect sharks of the Galapagos
We are sending our fast patrol boat, the M/V John Paul DeJoria, to stop shark poachers of the Galapagos corridor, the richest living marine diversity in the world.
We have the ship, we have the crew, we have our mission.
What we need to do now is raise funds for fuel, supplies, cameras and dive equipment.