The Ecuadorian navy has seized the Rosa I Costa Rican fishing boat with a cargo of shark meat in the Galapagos Islands. The Rosa I was stopped about 104 nautical miles northwest of Darwin Island with 75 pieces of shark meat aboard according to Ecuavisa Television.
The waters surrounding the islands is the protected Galapagos Marine Reserve established to protect the 3000 species of marine plants and animals in the region. Natives of the Galapagos are granted special permits to fish on a small scale in these waters from the Galapagos Marine Reserve. In order to protect the environment the waters surrounding the Galapagos are closed to both international fisherman as well as fisherman from the continent.
The fishing boat, which was intercepted by a coast guard cutter, had five crewmen and a dog aboard. Currently navy investigators are trying to determine whether the sharks were caught inside or outside the islands, which are a protected marine reserve.
The sharks were caught in international waters, but the captain stated the vessel was forced to enter the Galapagos due to an emergency with the main engine.
The Rosa I and its crew earn a living from shark fishing, which is allowed in Costa Rica, Bonilla said, adding that each piece of shark meat brings between $60 and $70 locally.
This is the fourth Costa Rican boat stopped for illegal fishing in the Galapagos this year.
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