Galapagos Islands: Fisheries and Fisheries Management

Submitted by The Catt-Trax2 Team on Mon, 2007/01/08 - 10:41am.

Report prepared by Meaghan Leslie-Gottschligg and Scott Grimsrud, students in BCIT's Fish, Wildlife and Recreation Program.

Over 450 species of fish are found in the Galapagos, seventeen percent of which are endemic (not found anywhere else in the world). Some examples of fish found there include scalloped hammerhead shark, sting ray, butterflyfish, parrotfish, triggerfish, squirrelfish and lizardfish.

Over-exploitation of natural resources through illegal industrial fishing is the main fisheries management issue. Recently there have been many protests by commercial fishermen to increase the allowable catch and to allow industrial fishing. Currently, the Special Law and the Management Plan for the Galapagos Marine Reserve do not permit commercial fishing in the waters within forty miles of the Galapagos coast. Recently, illegal fisheries for sharks, lobsters, and sea cucumbers have been operating in the marine reserve. This has introduced the need to patrol the National Park and Marine Reserve.

Illegal harvesting of shark fins, lobsters and sea cucumbers is a major problem. These are not for local use but are exported to countries in the Far East and elsewhere. The hammerhead, blue, thresher, black tip, mako and Galapagos shark species are the hardest hit. Shark fins are used to make shark fin soup and are sold throughout Asia. Sea cucumbers are used as an ingredient in French and Asian haute cuisine.  Only one of the fifteen species found in the Galapagos is being harvested. Fisherman have set up onshore processing camps which are destroying terrestrial habitats and encouraging the possible introduction of alien species such as black and brown rats, fire ants and other invertebrates and plants.

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