The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has been working in the Galapagos for more than a decade. We were first invited by the Director of the Galapagos National Park Service (GNPS) to provide assistance in patrolling the Galapagos Marina Reserve (GMR).
In August 2000, Sea Shepherd and the GNPS signed an agreement to help patrol the GMR. One of Sea Shepherd's vessels, the Edward Abbey (later renamed Sirenian) was dispatched to operate inside the GMR. During the five year of the initial agreement, the Sirenian was used to patrol the GMR and track down the illegal commercial fisheries. In this 5-year period, dozens of illegal fishing vessels were apprehended.
In October 2005, Sea Shepherd donated the Sirenian to the GNPS to become a valuable permanent addition to the National Park's fleet.
Since July 2006 Sea Shepherd opened a permanent office in the Galapagos Islands to further expand our support to the Ecuadorian government.
All our projects are aimed to reinforce the local law enforcement agencies in their battle to stop illegal fishing and wildlife smuggling.
Sea Shepherd has booked tremendous results over the years we have been active in the Galapagos.
Our website lists the various projects we currently have as well as past successes.
Key to our success is the interconnectivity of al our projects playing in to the needs of the existing local law enforcement. All our projects are meant to reinforce the effects of the other projects.
We have contracts with the Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign affairs, Ministry of Internal affairs, Ministry of Environment, the GNPS, the Ecuadorian National Police, the Ecuadorian Agricultural Inspection Service (Agro Calidad) and several other local institutions.
We cooperate with international NGO's (WWF, Conservation International and Wildaid) in several of our projects.
We also are being supported by one of the largest donors in the world, the Dutch Postcode Lottery, specifically for our work in the Galapagos (1)
Awards have been given for our work in the Galapagos; this includes the Amazon Peace Price for Captain Paul Watson (2+3)
Our ocean going ships, whilst in transit to other international campaigns, have assisted the GNPS in patrolling the GMR, often assisting in the apprehension of poachers (4+5)
We provide education to local youth, teaching them the importance of sharks in their ecosystem. This work is highlighted in the book Sharks of Galapagos, part of our project Shark Education Pack. Goal is to create future shark ambassadors (6+7)
We provide additional support to the Galapagos National Park Service for patrolling the GMR (besides the donation of a ship). This includes hiring of qualified staff, installation of specialized monitoring equipment and the constant development of new programs (8+9)
We reinforce the Ecuadorian National Police, who is responsible for the apprehension of wildlife smugglers and poachers. Their work is supported through the installation and continued service of well-needed communication equipment. We are also co-responsible for the development and support of the first and so far only police dog unit in Latin America that is capable of detecting illegal wildlife smuggling (10+11)
Once cases are brought to court we provide valuable support to the judiciary. In fact we have stood at the base of a major change in the Galapagos Judicial system. Beginning with the publication of a manual that explains the application of criminal environmental law as a tool to protect the natural world of Galapagos.
Our legal project is booking repeated successes; the appointment of the first ever, environmental prosecutor for Galapagos; appointment of a first ever provincial court in Galapagos; to likely to have the first-in-the world judiciary specializing in nature rights (12-16)
Sea Shepherd Galapagos is not just about catching poachers; our mission is to help the local authorities protect this important World Heritage Site. From the beginning to the end, constantly adapting our strategies to meet with changing demand.
Sea Shepherd Galapagos operates in many ways differently from Sea Shepherd International's campaigns. But it is done with the same passion and care for our natural world.
We believe that our chosen strategy has proven to work and are now ready to copy this strategy, adapted to local needs, to other areas in the region and elsewhere in the world. Illegal fishing and shark finning particularly is rampant in the world and drastic changes are needed urgently to target these ever growing problems.
As several studies have shown, sharks generate far greater benefits for local economies in tourism than in fisheries. The wealth is spread over a far larger group of people and of course tourism is far more sustainable. In short sharks are worth a lot more alive and dead, ecologically as well as economically.
The work of Sea Shepherd Galapagos will be illustrated in a 45-minute video that is to be released within a couple of months.
For further information please contact the Galapagos office.
Links to the Sea Shepherd website:
6) NEWS: Shark Education Pack
9) NEWS: Tiburon Martillo
10) NEWS: Radio Communications
11) NEWS: K9 Program