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.