Intense fishing near Galápagos spurs corridor plan


The Chinese fishing fleet that appears off the Galápagos every year includes support ships that take on each boat’s catch for refrigeration and transport, helping the fleet to stay at sea for long periods. (Photo courtesy of Ecuadorian Navy)

In May, Ecuadorian scientists lost track of Esperanza, a whale shark outfitted with a satellite transmitter to track her movements in and beyond the waters of the Galápagos Islands. Making the loss of contact especially worrisome was the presence in the area of a giant fishing fleet comprising hundreds of vessels. The largely Chinese fleet has arrived on an annual basis since 2017 to scour international waters just beyond the Exclusive Economic Zone surrounding the Galápagos, a 200-mile limit within which foreign fishing vessels are not allowed. The last tracking data showed Esperanza in an area of international waters where the fleet was operating. In the last 30 minutes, she was moving at seven knots, far faster than her species’ usual speed of 1.5 knots. The data led experts to believe she had been captured and carried off by a fishing boat—perhaps one of those in the fleet... [Log in to read more]

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