Second Agreement Signed Allows for Joint Protection of Marine Species in the Amazon
In Quito, Ecuador, Sea Shepherd President and Founder Captain Paul Watson signed two important agreements solidifying Sea Shepherd's role in protecting marine species in Latin America.
In a historic ceremony, on July 4th, Captain Watson signed an agreement with the National Police of Ecuador that will allow for joint operations to patrol the Galapagos Marine Reserve for illegal fishing operations. Captain Watson also signed an agreement with AMAZNOR, an Ecuadorian grassroots organization dedicated to the protection of the Amazon, in order to aid in the protection of the endangered pink dolphin and the manatee that dwell in the Amazon region.
After several working sessions with the Chief Commander of the Ecuadorian National Police General Bolivar Cisneros and Colonel Teresa Carranza, Commander of the National Environmental Police (a division of the National Police), Sea Shepherd agreed to work on ways to strengthen the Environmental Police of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. This follows several meetings with high officials of the Ecuadorian government including the Vice President Lenin Moreno of Ecuador and the Minister of Interior Gustavo Larrea. This agreement is a major step forward in the shared goal of joint patrols with the Environmental Police in the Galapagos Islands.
"The Environmental Police have a working unit in the Galapagos Islands that needs to be strengthened. Sea Shepherd has already began to work with the Environmental Police. In the month of June alone, we have been able to seize over 19,000 shark fins, over 93,000 sea cucumbers, we seized a 30-mile longline, and made 5 arrests. We have made a huge dent in the poaching mafias that operate in the Galapagos Islands and this agreement will strengthen our ability to continue to work together towards this common goal," comments Sea Shepherd Galapagos Director Sean O'Hearn-Gimenez.
Sea Shepherd continues to work closely with the Galapagos National Park (GNP) and especially in cooperation with Raquel Molina, the director of the GNP. Sea Shepherd is also working in cooperation with other NGO's on the islands like WildAid, the Darwin Research Foundation, and the World Wildlife Fund. In 2000, Sea Shepherd donated a fast patrol boat to the GNP rangers to protect the Marine Reserve and the Society is presently working to secure a fast patrol vessel to be jointly operated with the National Environmental Police.
The goal of the agreement between Sea Shepherd and AMAZNOR is to ensure that the river dolphins and manatees are protected from the always-present threat of oil exploration, river pollution, deforestation, indiscriminate capture, and incidental fishing. Sea Shepherd is committed to ensuring that the Amazon pink dolphin does not follow the fate of the Yangtze River dolphin that was declared extinct in 2006.
Additionally, this week, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ecuador has confirmed that Sea Shepherd is now officially registered as an international non-profit operating in Ecuador. Sea Shepherd opened an office in the Galapagos Islands in 2006 and simultaneously requested legalization to operate in Ecuador as a nongovernmental organization.