The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is offering its services to the Galapagos Islands National Park to keep poachers out of the park’s protected waters. According to Sea Shepherd executive director, Paul Watson, the organization will dispatch a ship currently in the Indian Ocean to the Galapagos as soon as permission is granted.
The Sea Shepherd, which has been featured on the documentary television Discovery and National Geographic channels, operates two vessels that challenge large fishing factory ships that it believes are operating illegally or fishing for endangered species. The Sea Shepherd has had a relationship with the Galapagos National Park since 2000, patrolling park waters and monitoring island wildlife with canine units.
“We applaud the Ecuadorian court for handing down a stiff sentence to the Chinese crew that violated the sovereignty of the ocean preserve last week,” Watson said. “This is the kind of law enforcement we need to protect endangered ocean species. It’s also great news that the government will sell the ship and commit the funds to park protection.”
The fishing ship Fu Yuan Yu Leng is valued at about $6 million.
Sea Shepherd ships have challenged hundreds of large fishing vessels for more than 30 years, the majority of them operated by Chinese and Japanese companies. “These huge factory ships can do enormous damage to sea life and it is our objective at Sea Shepherd, through education and direct advocacy if necessary, to defend the world’s marine life.”