Ecuador is monitoring a large fleet of fishing vessels off the Galapagos Islands and has increased patrolling to ensure the ships do not enter the area of the ecologically sensitive islands, the defense minister said on Thursday.
Many of the fishing vessels are Chinese. They’re attracted by the many marine species such as the hammerhead shark, which is in danger of extinction.
A Chinese vessel in 2017 was captured in the Galapagos Marine Reserve carrying 300 tons of marine wildlife. “We are on alert, (conducting) surveillance, patrolling to avoid an incident such as what happened in 2017,” Defense Minister Oswaldo Jarrin told reporters.
The Ecuadorian Navy has identified around 265 vessels in the vicinity of the Galapagos Islands’ exclusive economic zone. In the exclusive economic zone, Ecuador has jurisdiction.
“There is a corridor that is international waters, that’s where the fleet is located,” said Jarrin, adding none had attempted to enter the exclusive economic zone.
The Galapagos Islands are home to a wide variety of marine wildlife as well as turtles, flamingos and albatrosses.
We talked to Dr. Inty Grønneberg about the situation in Ecuador.