What You Can Do
Sea Shepherd and the Galapagos National Park Service are now fighting poachers to protect the Marine Reserve. But that's not all we're fighting...and because of that, doing this job and winning this fight is going to require the help of everyone concerned about the future of the Galapagos Marine Reserve.
The situation now in the Galapagos could not be more tense, nor the stakes higher: The moment when the world either succeeds or fails in the effort to save one of the planet's most precious and unique ecosystems may be at hand.
Beginning in the early 90s, a "gold rush" to the archipelago from the Ecuadorian mainland and a high-paying Asian clientele for shark fins and sea cucumbers established a get-rich-quick ethic that began taking a heavy toll.
Ecuador's powerful commercial fishing sector is accustomed to getting its way in the Galapagos. When it doesn't, fishermen have rioted, killed Galapagos tortoises, shot Park rangers, and gutted and burned Park facilities and research stations until the government relented and allowed ever-higher levels of exploitation in the Marine Reserve.
More commonly, the fishing sector's friends – and often financial partners – in the government and the military have been happy to overlook the laws protecting the Galapagos from exploitation. Despite heavy opposition, in 1998, the government passed the Law on the Special Regime for the Conservation and Sustainable Development of Galapagos Province – also known as "The Special Law for Galapagos." The Galapagos Marine Reserve was declared a protected area extending 40 miles offshore, with stringent penalties established for violators.
After assisting at the clean-up of January, 2001 tanker spill, on March 7th, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society patrol boat Sirenian became the first foreign-flagged vessel to be allowed to patrol in the Galapagos Marine Reserve.
Within its first five days patrolling and working in cooperation with the Galapagos National Park Service, Sirenian apprehended three commercial fishing vessels inside the Marine Reserve, and a fourth was seized by a Park Service patrol vessel.
WE HAVE THE CHANCE to make the laws work – laws demanded by the people of Ecuador to protect their natural heritage, which is also the world's heritage.
The courage of the rangers of the Galapagos National Park Service and Sea Shepherd volunteers cannot be overstated: They are going up against big money and powerful, entrenched interests with a history of violence. They are putting their lives on the line to protect one of the planet's last treasured places. They need to know that the international community is behind them.
We have a window of possibility for a great victory for the forces of conservation. But that victory depends on everyone reading these words taking the time to let Ecuador know that the world is watching.
Remind the government that they must not tie the hands of the Galapagos National Park Service in prosecuting violators caught in the Marine Reserve:
- The Special Law for the Galapagos must be enforced.
- They must not allow government and military officials to peremptorily order the release of captured trawlers.
- Ecuador has a big economic stake in protecting the Galapagos, which accounts for US$ 70 million annually in foreign exchange earnings.
Contact the the government of Ecuador encouraging them to support the Sea Shepherd and the Galapagos National Park Rangers in their efforts to stop illegal fishing activities in the Marine Reserve:
Consulate of Ecuador USA
2535 15th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
Tel: (202) 234-7166
Fax: (202) 265-9325
Embassy of Ecuador USA
2535 15th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20009
Tel: (202) 234-7200
Fax: (202) 667-3482
Embassy of Ecuador UK
Flat 3b, 3 Hans Crescent
Tel: +44 (0)20 7584 2648 / 1367 / 8084
Fax: +44 (0)20 7823 9701
Embassy of Ecuador Canada
50 O'Connor Street, Suite 316
Ottawa, Ontario Canada K1P 6L2
Tel: +1 (613) 563-8206 / 4286?
Fax: +1 (613) 235-5776
Ecuador Consulate, Toronto Canada
151 Bloor St, West, Suite 470
Ecuador Consulate, Montreal Canada
2055 Peel, Oficina No. 501
|Ecuador Consulate , Vancouver Canada
7388 Lynnwood Drive, Richmond
Support Sea Shepherd Galapagos:
In 2006, Sea Shepherd established a permanent office in the Galapagos to assist the GNP with projects protecting the Marine Reserve. Your financial donations are much needed to allow us to continue our marine conservation work. Thank you for your care and support!