Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship Farley Mowat under the command of Captain Paul Watson will be arriving in the Galapagos within a week. The Society intends to renew our five-year agreement with the Galapagos National Park to allow the Park to continue to utilize our patrol boat Sirenian for anti-poaching and conservation enforcement work.
The five-year contract signed with the Galapagos National Park is due to expire this year, and both the National Park and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society are pleased with the activities of the Sirenian over the last five years. Numerous poaching operations have been intercepted and the Sirenian has become an important enforcement tool for the Galapagos National Park.
The last five years have seen great changes at the Park - some bad and some good. The overthrow of the President of Ecuador earlier this year has turned things around for the better at the Park.
Recently, the Inter-Institutional Management Authority, the group charged with Galapagos management, has prohibited the use of surface longlines at depths of less than 60 meters in the Galapagos Marine Reserve.
This is good news but longlining is taking place in the Park and there is insufficient data available on the impact of longlining below 60 meters.
Last year, local groups in the Galapagos (with the support of the schools) launched the Year of the Shark to focus international attention on the diminishment of sharks populations in the Galapagos. There continues to be a ban on the export of shark fins from Ecuador despite pressure from business interests to overturn the ban. This week, the Galapagos will burn 420 sacks of shark fins confiscated from smugglers and poachers. An Ecuadorian Customs official has been jailed. The shark fins had been destined for Hong Kong.
Another bit of good news is that the fifteen member nations of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) have approved an international ban on shark finning in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. The shark resolution was co-sponsored by the United States, the European Union, Japan, and Nicaragua, and received vocal support from Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, and Mexico.
The conservation-minded people of the Galapagos, the rangers of the Galapagos National Park, and international groups like Wild Aid and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society are all working together to protect the sharks of the Galapagos. The renewal of our agreement with the Galapagos National Park will serve to strengthen this effort.
The Farley Mowat is bringing replacement parts for the main engines of the Sirenian to help renovate the vessel for another five years of service in the Galapagos National Park Marine Reserve.
Please visit our Galapagos Campaign pages to learn more about Sea Shepherd's work in these Enchanted Isles.