[WILD_SEAS] SSI Conservation Vessel Captures Three More Poachers

From: wildnet (wildnet@ecoterra.net)
Date: Tue Mar 13 2001 - 02:59:11 EST


Sea Shepherd Conservation Vessel Captures
Three More Poachers in the Galapagos

March 12- Galapagos, Ecuador: Last night marine conservation group Sea
Shepherd and the Galapagos National Park Service intercepted three more
Ecuadorian vessels fishing within the protected area of the Galapagos
Islands,
a World Heritage Site.

Sunday's capture marks the second time in three days that poachers were
caught
red-handed - and that the government has wavered in deciding whether to
press charges. Fishing within the 40-mile area is an infraction of a
contract agreed on by the Ecuadorian government, the Galapagos National
Park
Service, and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to try to preserve
this
fragile eco-system. The vessels are being detained on the island of San
Christobal until the Ecuadorian Navy decides whether or not to
prosecute.

On Monday the Sirenian intercepted an incriminating message sent by the
fishing boat Dilsum. Upon boarding the Dilsum, Sea Shepherd's crew found

300 sharks that had just been caught inside the 40 mile protected area.
While the inspection of the Dilsum was taking place, a second boat, the
Gaviota, was spotted trying to flee the area. Only after Sea Shepherd
fired
a warning shot and rammed into the Gaviota did it surrender.

But it is the third vessel, the San Antonia (captured by the Galapagos
National Park Service) that has conservationists most worried. Among the
San
Antonia's crew members is one Sergeant Calderon, a member of the
Ecuardorian
Navy. "It certainly looks to us like the Ecuardorian Navy is bought and
paid
for by the fishing industry," said Sea Shepherd president, Paul Watson.

As recently as a few months ago, Ecuadorian president Gustavo Noboa
issued a
statement affirming the country's "committment to guarantee the
conservation
of the extraordinary biodiversity and ecosystems of the archipelago."

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