Statement by Captain Paul Watson
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has been deservedly critical of the Ecuadorian government in recent months. We call it as we see it and for a long time we have been seeing very little positive conservation action in Ecuador.
Now we have the refreshing opportunity to applaud an Ecuadorian government decision and to commend Ecuadorian Minister of Commerce Yvonne Baki for making a landmark ruling on behalf of conservation.
The Ministry of Commerce today announced that fishing will be totally prohibited in sectors of the Galapagos National Park Marine Reserve and the export of shark fins is now prohibited.
If enforced, this ruling marks a significant move for shark conservation in the Galapagos.
The Ministry of Commerce also called for the complete prohibition of fish gear specifically utilized for sharks. The government of Ecuador now officially recognizes that sharks have been severely over-fished in Ecuadorian waters.
The ruling to ban gear utilized for sharks must include the prohibition of longlines. It is unclear if the Ecuadorian government has banned longlines at this point but longlines must be banned to ensure that sharks are not taken.
Sea Shepherd will publish the complete text of the government ruling once we receive it and have the opportunity to translate it.
The people of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz held a celebration on the streets yesterday evening and walked with candles to mark the effort to protect the sharks. The crew of the Sea Shepherd ship Farley
Mowat held a vigil at sea halfway between Wolf and Darwin Islands at the far north of the Galapagos National Park. Not having candles, the crew held hand-held flares as boobies, frigate birds and gulls circled in the hundreds above their heads.
It is unclear at this point what the results of the meeting between the Minister of the Environment and disgruntled fishermen has been.
The fishermen threatened on Monday to re-occupy the Park if the Minister did not give into their impossible demands.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society would also like to applaud Dr. Godfrey Merlen and WildAid for the tremendous effort they have been devoting to lobbying the Ecuadorian government to ban shark finning.
It is heartening and encouraging to see this positive action on behalf of the government of Ecuador.
Minister Yvonne Baki has taken a courageous step forward and future generations in Ecuador and around the World will be thankful for it.
ban shark fin exports from Ecuador