Fishermen Caught Hunting Sharks in Galapagos National Park

Just days ago, authorities apprehended 30 fishermen that were spotted hunting sharks well within the boundaries of Galapagos National Park.

National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries are supposed to be places where fish and ocean mammals can finally be free of the fisherman’s endless pursuit. But as park rangers and officers of the Ecuadorian Navy boarded the rundown vessel, they discovered the bodies of 357 dead sharks (MSNBC).

John Bruno, a University of North Carolina marine biologist teaching at the Galapagos Science Center, wrote on his blog that the park had declared it the largest shark seizure in its history.

According to the GNP and verified by an employee of the GSC, 357 sharks were found on the ship: 286 bigeye thresher, 22 blue sharks, 40 Galapagos sharks, 6 hammerhead sharks, 2 tiger sharks, and 1 mako shark (primarily pelagic species).

The boat was using longlining (illegal in the GNP) to catch sharks and swordfish near the small island of Genovesa.  The 30 fisherman apprehended are in jail awaiting a hearing.

This story broke on the same day that the New York Times ran a great op-ed about the critical importance of top predators, and just weeks after Chile outlawed shark finning in its waters and the Bahamas banned commercial shark fishing all together. Most shark hunting occurs to help supply shark fins to Asian communities that consider shark fin soup a delicacy.

Related Reading:

Yes, Chinese Culture Will Survive Without Shark Fin Soup

California Lawmakers Propose Shark Fin Ban

Shark Extinction In Our Lifetime? (Video)

Image Credit: Flickr - usfwspacific | Galapagos National Park

 

100 comments

LMj Sunshine

Wow..

LMj Sunshine

Wow..

Tanja Z.
Tanja Zilker4 years ago

:-((((

Dail Mashek
Dail Mashek4 years ago

Natural predictors as well as the protected "loved" species need to be free to interact in their natural environments, to maintain the natural environments... and in this case man has over-killed and stepped over the boundaries man himself has deployed. Whomever these people are the sharks maintain the quota of animals in the waters of the Galapagos as they have for millenniums, when people were not around! Whatever their reason, the punishment is already in the law. Ignorance of the law has never been accepted as a defense! Tell China to use the whole shark or not at all and tell them to fish responsibly, and conservatively. Less would mean more because the demand will increase so the price for few will increase. If the price is so high that they are going to jail to get paid... also severely fine the companies they were fishing for!!!!! Remove their license to produce or make them change their policies. They knew what they were doing...a crime.

Judy A.
Judy Apelis4 years ago

Are you kidding me? There should not be compassion shown to them whatsoever.

Hartson Doak
Hartson Doak5 years ago

There a vast surplus of humans. Were they used as shark food?

Jennifer C.
Past Member 5 years ago

Good to know. Thanks.

KrassiAWAY B.
Krasimira B.5 years ago

Bad news for the poachers of sharks.

SeattleAnn S.
Ann S.5 years ago

Thank goodness they caught these jerks. I hope they are able to remain even more vigilant to prosecute the doubtless many others breaking international laws and crimes against nature for personal gain. It's important we all help out by reporting any illicit activities against innocent wildlife we witness. I have not personally witnessed any cruelty to animals, but I am certain that if I ever do, I would not be able to idly stand by but would probably dispose myself to danger by attempting to save to animals myself.

Debby Gesaman
Deborah G.5 years ago

What a sad point in life we've come to. Even National Parks are not safe - ANYWHERE in the world.