Just months after one of the largest shark poaching cases, another vessel has been caught inside the Galapagos Marine Reserve (GMR).
The Ecuadorian Navy apprehended the Reina del Cisne, an industrial fishing vessel from Manta, six nautical miles inside the GMR.
The Reina del Cisne, together with two small boats, was equipped with longlines, a fishing method prohibited by Galapagos regulations and dozens of dead sharks were found in their holds. The navy ordered the vessel to San Cristobal Island for further inspection, where it has been detained pending the ongoing investigation. The 12 crew members have all been placed under arrest.
‘A truly sad sight.'
Marine conservation organisation Sea Shepherd Galapagos participated as an official observer in the inspection of the vessel that took place on September 20.
A spokesman said: ‘We witnessed the devastating effects of shark fishing when the deck of the Reina del Cisne slowly filled with one dead shark after another. The final number of victims was 81, including 69 thresher sharks, 11 blue sharks, and one silky shark.
'Some of these sharks were only a few months old – it was a truly sad sight.'
Thresher sharks are valued for their long fins but are also known for having small litters of two to four sharks per birth. This low reproduction rate combined with the extensive overfishing for their fins has resulted in them being listed as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). More....