Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Massive Fleet of Chinese Fishing Boats Threaten Galapagos Islands

Oceans
Massive Fleet of Chinese Fishing Boats Threaten Galapagos Islands
More than 260 Chinese fishing boats are just outside the protected waters of the Galapagos Islands. Diego Delso / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 4.0

Ecuador authorities are keeping tabs on a fleet of roughly 260 fishing boats near the Galapagos Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ecuadorian boats are patrolling to try to stop the fishing boats from entering the area, according to Reuters.


The ships are just outside the perimeter of the 188-mile-wide economic zone. "This fleet's size and aggressiveness against marine species is a big threat to the balance of species in the Galápagos," Yolanda Kakabadse, former environment minister told The Guardian.

Chinese vessels travel to the region each year in search of marine species, including endangered hammerhead sharks.

"Unchecked Chinese fishing just on the edge of the protected zone is ruining Ecuador's efforts to protect marine life in the Galápagos," Roque Sevilla told The Guardian.

Sevilla, former mayor of Ecuador's capital, Quito, was tasked with designing a "protection strategy" for the islands, which lie 563 miles west of the South American mainland. He said the first step would be diplomatic efforts requesting the withdrawal of the Chinese fishing fleet.

Past Chinese fleets have violated international boundaries to capture marine life. In 2017, a Chinese vessel was caught in the marine reserve with 300 metric tons of wildlife, mostly consisting of sharks, according to the BBC.

"We are on alert, [conducting] surveillance, patrolling to avoid an incident such as what happened in 2017," Ecuadorean Defense Minister Oswaldo Jarrin told reporters, the BBC reported.


So far, the Chinese fishing boats have stayed in international waters, Reuters reported.

In a series of tweets, Ecuador's president, Lenin Moreno, used #SOSGalapagos to draw attention to the boats surrounding the protected islands. He described the islands as "one of the richest fishing areas and a hotbed of life for the entire planet," SkyNews reported.

BBC reported that Moreno plans to hold consultations with Colombia, Peru, Chile, Panama and Costa Rica in order to confront the threat.

Kakabadse told The Guardian that Ecuador will also try extending the economic zone to a 350-mile circumference around the islands in order to connect with the mainland's economic zone, effectively closing off the international water corridor where the Chinese fleet is currently located.

On Dec. 21, Jupiter and Saturn will be so closely aligned that they will appear as a "double planet." NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory / YouTube

The night sky has a special treat in store for stargazers this winter solstice.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Rough handling can result in birds becoming injured before slaughter. Courtesy of Mercy for Animals

By Dena Jones

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) was sued three times this past summer for shirking its responsibility to protect birds from egregious welfare violations and safeguard workers at slaughterhouses from injuries and the spread of the coronavirus.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A view of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge during Arctic Bird Fest on June 25, 2019. Lisa Hupp / USFWS

By Julia Conley

Conservation campaigners on Thursday accused President Donald Trump of taking a "wrecking ball" to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as the White House announced plans to move ahead with the sale of drilling leases in the 19 million-acre coastal preserve, despite widespread, bipartisan opposition to oil and gas extraction there.

Read More Show Less
The Bond Fire, started by a structure fire that extended into nearby vegetation on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020 in Silverado, CA. Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images

Hot, dry and windy conditions fueled a wildfire southeast of Los Angeles Thursday that injured two firefighters and forced 25,000 to flee their homes.

Read More Show Less
Hospital workers evacuate patients from the Feather River Hospital during the Camp Fire on Nov. 8, 2018 in Paradise, California. People in 128 countries have experienced an increased exposure to wildfires, a new Lancet report finds. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

The climate crisis already has a death toll, and it will get worse if we don't act to reduce emissions.

Read More Show Less