June 13, 2008


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Either it be incidentally, arbitrarily, legal or illegally, the number continues being the same: one hundred million sharks killed every year in the planet. And it also happens in Galápagos!

I have not read about it, no one told me about it; I saw it with my own eyes, I personally gathered the net to take the photo for this article. It was difficult for me to raise it because on it, in it, and through it, hundreds of inert creatures were hanging, trapped. I was following the instructions of Franklin Guaranda, who was trying to obtain the necessary evidence to report to the Galápagos National Park. “Raise the net more”, “Hold it high and don’t move it”, “Twist it a little towards the light”, “Hurry it seems that the fishermen are coming”.

Disciplined as I am, held my breath and my tears. Never in my life had I seen a shark caught in a fishing net. A small black fin shark, like a little rubber fish, constituted a great part of the weight that I held under my arms.

With the Zodiac we traveled the approximately three hundred meters of net, from one end to the other, both tied to the beach, taking photographs and video. We saw at least three rays caught, agonizing, four inert sharks and, by of course dozens of Mullets also known in Ecuador as Lisas (Mugil sp.) which are the primary target of this type of fishing.

At six thirty in the morning, our passengers were at the top of Bartolomé Island, one of the most visited sites of the islands. From its height of one hundred and fifteen meters, they contemplate the sun illuminating San Salvador to the west, Santa Cruz in the distance, the north beach of Bartolomé with its golden half moon form and to the south… in the south beach… a circle of death, in broad day light.

The guides call to the boat. Giancarlo Toti, Graciela Cevallos, Walter Perez insist on the radio. Even as they are seeing it, they can’t believe it. The captain, Juan Robalino, authorizes a Zodiac, and with camera in hand, our only weapon and instrument of work, we rushed to the reported place. I have lived something similar in two previous occasions. I knew I was at risk of being insulted, as it has happened before, that we would have to be fast in case the fishermen became aggressive, and that we had to protect the camera. But everything came to pass very “civilized”, if the term fits.

  1. When the fishermen saw us arrive, they got into their boat and they went to the beach, to gather the net. They watched us, we watched them, we were very close to them, always with our camera in hand, but neither they nor we said a word. I want to think that with their silence they let us know that yes, they were ashamed, if not by the slaughter, then by their stupidity of having done this at this place.
  2. it is not allowed to fish in a tourist area, and
  3. No one is allowed to disembark on the beach, and the net was secured in each one its ends to dunes where marine turtles nest, one of the men ran stepping on who knows how many nests while he untied the net. Within the circle, in the water, there were turtles and at least five sea lions that were trapped and could not go anywhere, in addition to pelicans and frigate birds that were waiting to participate of the easy feast.

From the stern of their boat, of not more than ten meters in length, a full net full of Mullet hung under the water. We did not want to board the empty boat since we were less than them, so we could not see if they had caught more small sharks, which according to the detraction of Decree 2130, if caught “incidentally” are allowed to be sold on the mainland.

We cannot deny that in fact they were using a gill net for fishing Mullet. But there are hundreds of areas opened to legally fish mullet. So:
  • Why fish in a tourist area which is known for its abundance of small shark, which in fact is the main attraction for the tourists here?
  • Were they just there for the Mullet?
  • Or were they hoping to “incidentally” catch some other small thing?
    That is outside our comprehension. We took photos, video and by all means, we called the Galapagos National Park immediately.

In less than two hours, a boat from the Park arrived at Bartolomé. The fishermen had gotten rid of all the evidence. But we counted on photos, video and our report was signed and ready. The fishing boat was taken to port with the personnel of the Marine Reserve Patrol of the Galápagos National Park and a member of Navy. There the legal procedures will be followed to impose the corresponding sanctions.

The South beach, on which our passengers walked to later that morning, was full of dead Mullet, and pelicans and frigate birds that were finally participating in their much awaited feast. One of the sharks “incidentally” killed was also beached. One of the one hundred million sharks that are killed every year in the world.

Either it be incidentally, arbitrarily, legal or illegally, the number continues being the same:
one hundred millions of SHARKS killed every year in the planet.
And it also happens in Galápagos!

By Paula Tagle



The principal economic activity of Galapagos is tourism, which started in the 1970s when the first island dwellers used their own fishing boats to take round visitors. Since then the number of visitors has increased and during 2005, the Galapagos National Park reported that 122,000 visitors had been to the archipelago. However, this sustainable form of tourism may be changing. Discovery World Cruises will sail into San Cristobal in April 2006 with a 500 passenger ship. Ecuadorian environmentalist, Deborah Chiriboga, said: "The future of the islands is uncertain. We are allowing Galapagos to lose its natural value. The tourist sector has shown that it is not interested in conservation. They are mainly responsible for the uncontrolled immigration into the islands." Guide, Witman Cox, thinks that the Galapagos National Park should ensure that tourism includes local participation. In other words, that tourists should not just visit the uninhabited islands but should stay in the Galapagos towns to consume local services.

The Minister of the Environment, Ana Albán, confirmed that her vision of Galapagos tourism is to attract affluent visitors who are interested in the wildlife. "The first step is to talk to the islanders to see what type of activities will take place. For the first time we are working with the Ministry of Tourism to design a long term plan with international support."

Pedro Zapata - Mayor of San Cristobal

The Special Law for Galapagos establishes that tourism should be participative and that the benefits should be distributed across the board. The authorities are not completely responsible for the management of tourism but if there is a lack of attention to this, the municipally will take control. One of the examples is sport fishing which, although it is allowed, there are no regulations. We are not going to wait 6 years more when there is already a growing demand for this type of activity that has little impact and benefits the islanders.

Leopoldo Bucheli Mora - Mayor of Santa Cruz

In future tourism should not be mass tourism but selective. I have had various meetings with the members of parliament for Galapagos so that Congress can decide as to whether to increase the tax paid by the tourists when they enter the islands. At the moment they pay $100. We need to have more tourists in Galapagos but the model of tourism should include local participation. The local people should receive, directly or indirectly, the resources left by the visitors.

Pablo Gordillo - Mayor of Isabela

We have the advantage that we are only starting with tourism so we are not repeating the errors made on other islands where the benefits did not remain in the islands. For this reason we have created regulations to control tourism and that guarantee that the islanders of Isabela will benefit. There is a limit on hotels so that they cannot be more than 450 square metres and limits on foreign investment of 50% (the remaining 50% to be from a local partner). We also ask that tour operators be accredited by the Municipality of Isabela.

There are various funds supporting projects researching and protecting these species and a donation towards the GCT Shark Campaign 2008 will ensure that your money is used for priority projects, identified and agreed by the Charles Darwin Foundation and Galapagos Conservation Trust.


The Galapagos Islands

Tortoise bulletThe Galapagos Conservation Trust (GCT) works to contribute to the successful management of the Galapagos ecosystem.
Tortoise bulletThe GCT also raises awareness of, and funds for, the conservation needs of Galapagos.
Tortoise bulletThe GCT is the primary source of information and comment in the UK on conservation in the Galapagos Islands.

To know more about Galapagos Islands




Here a real cruelty called tournament:

Montauk Shark Tournament

Only days after congress passed the Shark Conservation Act of 2008, the slaughter of sharks is happening right here in our own backyard.
This weekend the Star Island Yacht Club Shark Tournament will take place in Montauk, NY.
The 2008 Annual Shark Tournament is being held June 12–14. This year's website boasts a prize pool of more that $1,000,000 the largest yet, which means that more sharks than ever are going to be killed. The greed and ignorance of the few will affect all of us.
Why must these types of actions always lead to the decimation of species before we stop the madness?


Please bring your cameras and join Wendy Heller from DivePhotoGuide.com this Saturday and help cover this horrible event so that it can be broadcast to the world in efforts to create more awareness and help save our sharks. We will be working with major media to prevent this event from continuing next year.

You can also join the Humane Society rally to show your support Saturday June 14th from 4-5pm pm at the intersection of West Lake Drive and Star Island Drive, Montauk, NY. For more information on the rally, please contact Kathryn at kkullberg@humanesociety.org.
For details on Wendy's coverage location at the Shark Tournament pls. email Wendy or contact us at


We look forward to your support - this is more important for the ocean and for our futures than most people will ever know. We are causing irrepairable harm that will be felt for generations to come.

More info:

  • Humane Society on Shark Tournaments

  • Star Island Yacht Club Shark Tournament - Associated Press

  • Declaration, Manifesto for Immediate Worldwide Shark Conservation Actions

Dear members, buddies, don´t turn your back on this, I´m sure all of you know that Sharks are so important in the marine ecosystem, I don´t want to imagine our Oceans without them. Tell the world, friends, Media press, everyone so we can give our support.


Lizbeth Maria Aguirre






Photobucket For filmmaker Rob Stewart, exploring sharks began as an underwater adventure. What it turned into was a beautiful and dangerous life journey into the balance of life on earth. Driven by passion fed from a lifelong fascination with sharks, Stewart debunks historical stereotypes and media depictions of sharks as bloodthirsty, man-eating monsters and reveals the reality of sharks as pillars in the evolution of the seas. Filmed in visually stunning, high definition video, Sharkwater takes you into the most shark rich waters of the world, exposing the exploitation and corruption surrounding the world's shark populations in the marine reserves of Cocos Island, Costa Rica and the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. In an effort to protect sharks, Stewart teams up with renegade conservationist Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Their unbelievable adventure together starts with a battle between the Sea Shepherd and shark poachers in Guatemala, resulting in pirate boat rammings, gunboat chases, mafia espionage, corrupt court systems and attempted murder charges, forcing them to flee for their lives. Through it all, Stewart discovers these magnificent creatures have gone from predator to prey, and how despite surviving the earth's history of mass extinctions, they could easily be wiped out within a few years due to human greed. Stewart's remarkable journey of courage and determination changes from a mission to save the world's sharks, into a fight for his life, and that of humankind.