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Sea Shepard Sting Leads To Seizure Of Over 18,000 Shark Fins

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QUITO, Ecuador -- Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and operatives of the Ecuadorian Environmental Police seized a total of 18,673 shark fins and arrested four suspects who are now being detained. "This successful sting is the result of several months working covertly with the cooperation of General Bolivar Cisneros, Chief Commander of the Ecuadorian National Police," said Sea Shepherd Galapagos Director Sean O'Hearn-Gimenez. "Sea Shepherd traced potential exit points in the illegal shark fin trade that occurs in the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador."

The initial seizure, at the immigration checkpoint, included four huge sacks with over 500 pounds of shark fins that were hidden in the compartment area of a passenger bus travelling along a route from Guayaquil to Huaquillas. Three passengers were arrested at this point, including an Ecuadorian and two Peruvian men. A second passenger bus travelling from Guayaquil towards the Peruvian border was also inspected and two boxes were found full of shark fins, weighing 97.9 pounds. A Peruvian male approached the driver and stated that he was expecting the two boxes and he was immediately arrested. This is roughly equivalent to over 4,500 sharks slaughtered with a street value of over USD$140,000.

"This is a cruel and senseless act. Some shark populations have declined by more than 90% in the last 30 years. Many of the sharks are finned in and around the Galapagos Marine Reserve and this has a direct impact on Ecuador 's tourism industry," stated O'Hearn-Gimenez. "Using longlines, the shark finner will use a long hook to haul the shark into the boat and then club it in the head knocking the shark unconscious. At this point the shark is finned alive and is thrown back into the water and left to bleed an agonizing death."

In Ecuador , exportation and commercialization of shark fins is against the law. Sea Shepherd will be filing a lawsuit as well as conducting a forensic analysis of the shark fins in order to determine the biological makeup of the sharks and to determine whether any of the species are also listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Sea Shepherd will also oversee the incineration of the fins.

"We have invested seven years in the Galapagos so far," said Sea Shepherd Founder and President Captain Paul Watson. "We have established a solid working relationship with the Galapagos National Park and enforcement authorities in Ecuador. This important bust and seizure of shark fins is a heavy economic blow to the criminals engaged in this destructive and illegal trade." O'Hearn-Gimenez will oversee the incineration of the shark fins to ensure that they do not re-enter the black market. Sea Shepherd Galapagos continues to work with the Environmental Police in Ecuador with the objective of putting an end to the illegal shark fin trade.

Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of UnderwaterTimes.com, its staff or its advertisers.

Reader Comments

9 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

Now this is what I'm talking about, nail the bastards. Key words "ILLEGAL" FISHING . Leave the Legal sport and recreational fishermen alone.If you don't agree with fishing for sport don't do it. Good show ENP & SSCS!!
   comment# 1   - Robert Rolin · Onalaska Texas · Jun 21, 2007 @ 5:46pm

This is terrible, 18,000 fins, 4,500 sharks and all in and around a Marine reserve as well, it makes my blood boil. I heard the other day that 60% of Chinese didn't know where shark fin soup came from, well this is where it comes from butchering sharks by hacking off their fins. The guys caught were purley pawns in this terrible trade and just by outlawing this barbaric pratice will not stop it. Its the demand that needs to be curtailed, so if your Chinese or Asian I beg you do NOT eat shark fin soup and walk out of any resturants that even serve it. So come on China you are the world driver behind this demand STOP it NOW !
   comment# 2   - Paul · Reading, UK · Jun 22, 2007 @ 1:13pm

The 4,500 sharks that were killed at least deserve the satisfaction knowing that the 4 scumbags were slashed hundreds of times with a razor blade then trolled behind a boat with their feet tied to a rope. Makes me sick !!!
   comment# 3   - Richard · SanDiego, Ca · Jun 22, 2007 @ 1:42pm

Richard oh boy, you need to put some of this anger towards other issues also, it sounds as if you have an abundance of it. These criminals should get a fine thrashing (legally of course) but you sound a bit like Hannibal lector mate.
   comment# 4   - Captain Ron · South Padre Island, Texas · Jun 27, 2007 @ 10:09pm

Richard - I agree with you man! Maybe that would get the point across to these idiots, instead of the slap on the wrist they will probably get.
   comment# 5   - Brendan Maas · Philadelphia, PA · Jun 28, 2007 @ 9:27am

Richard & Brendan you two should get together to watch TV and bite your fingernails while you feel sorry for yourselves and your obvious inadequacies in life. Try getting a grip on reality or seek some counseling before you really go beserk and hurt yourselves or even worse, others. Even though I disagree with Paul on some issues he does make reasonable points and is right on about curtailing the demand for fin soup and the harm commercial over fishing has on OUR oceans. Have you ever done anything for our planet or do you just spew insults and find pleasure in the thought of human death. Brendan, you also stated you catch & release all your fish, so none have ever died, yeh right. Keep on fishing it's great family sport
   comment# 6   - Robert Rolin · Onalaska Texas · Jun 28, 2007 @ 3:56pm

Can you imagine the outcry if cute, sweet dolphins were "finned" and thrown back overboard to drown. Sharks are in serious need of friends right now and for every boat/fisherman caught with a load of fins 10 get away with it. This is a problem that needs addressing now before its too late. And it will be too late as its only been in the last 15 years fishing that shark numbers have been reduced by up to 99%. 60 miles of longline, echo locators, spotter planes these fish don't stand a chance, Ban it NOW !
   comment# 7   - Paul · Reading, UK · Jul 18, 2007 @ 4:10pm

Paul I totally agree with your stance on shark finning, commercial fishing wastes and other travesties committed worldwide BUT being fanatical about views and or punishments like some of the people whom claim to be for conservation only divides large groups of people who are more moderate but just as concerned about our oceans. What is a realistic way for the average joe to go about helping to shut down this shark finning practice, this kind of info and not fanatical rhetoric is whats needed. I'm not saying you have been guilty of fanatical rhetoric on these posts but others have and really hurt this cause.
   comment# 8   - Robert Rolin · Onalaska , Texas · Jul 22, 2007 @ 8:12pm

Although not finning, every summer on the island of Marthas Vineyard a Monster Shark tournament is held - the objective is simple, to kill sharks. People come from all over to take part in the slaughter, their methodology of "fishing" is suspect at best, most chum the water drawing the sharks to their boats then simply kill them. Once back on shore the crowds gathered at the ocean edge cheer, applaud, ohh and ahh as the dead sharks are hoisted up a pole to be weighed and measured. Its unbelieveably maddening and shows the lack of respect people have for these amazing creatures Why this continues and is accepted boggles my mind, no doubt money plays a factor (Martha's Vineyards businesses reap a bounty from all who come to see this tragedy play out) - i wish i could corral all the sharks for that weekend into a sanctuary and watch the "fisherman" return empty handed
   comment# 9   - carol · cape cod · Jul 17, 2010 @ 4:50am
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