The Ecuadorian navy has captured a Chinese-flagged fishing vessel in the internationally protected Galapagos Island preserve Monday morning. Authorities say that the ship had 300 tons of fish, including protected species of sharks, in its hold.
The ship, Fu Yuan Yu Leng, and its 20 crew members were directed to port in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristóbal Island where naval investigators are examining the cargo and interviewing the captain.
By United Nations agreement, fishing by commercial fishing vessels is prohibited in the 133,000-square kilometer Galapagos Marine Reserve. “The ship is in violation of rules of Galapagos waters, which contain many endangered species of fish,” a spokesman for the navy said Monday afternoon. The initial investigation showed the ship’s holds contained “many tons” of silky and hammerhead sharks, both of which are protected by international agreement.
The navy said it would release more information, including the disposition of the Fu Yuan Yu Leng and crew, at a Tuesday news conference.