Galapagos Island Shark Population In Danger From Overfishing
Sharks in the Galapagos Islands are being decimated by fleets of fishing vessels many of them Chinese and that's bringing these vital creatures to the brink of extinction. Turn is a professor of biology at the. San Francisco Kiko in Ecuador and he's advocating for an expansion of protected waters in the area to save the sharks and he joins us now professor her welcome to the program. Thank you. It's great to be here. I understand fleets of international ships many of them. Chinese. Come to these waters every year and they're they're now what brings them. Well the waters off Galapagos and just in this region of very, very productive Galapagos islands are in a big obstacle in the middle of the ocean. So there's a deep cold water current that's flowing from the West and when it hits, the abacus platform is diverted at the surface and that creates a lot of productivity. So we get very rich fishing grounds and also fantastic biodiversity. How many ships are there? How many sharks are there? And you know what is this situation? Exactly as it stands at the moment, will galapagos is home to about thirty odd species of sharks, and some of those are critically endangered such as the scalloped hammerhead shark, and some of those are also highly migratory, the scalloped hammerhead, the Silky Shark, the whale shark, they all leave the borders of the marine reserve, and then they're subject to different levels of threat. So these vessels come into these waters and while they're fishing for other species, they catch these sharks in their nets. Yes depending on the method of fishing the longliners perhaps the vessels that we would be concerned about these are extensively fishing for tuna, but they will also catch several endangered shark species. During their fishing. And we know that if they do catch these species than they will retain them and keep them on board. So. These vessels though we should be clear aren't doing anything illegal they are allowed to fish with fishing. So why exactly are shark populations still taking a hit right? These vessels operating in international waters and depending on the fleet, they'll be operating under a regional fisheries organisations. The problem is that the species that we're trying to protect in Galapagos don't understand any of that. They go whether they WANNA go. As the problem is that once they leave the protective waters of the marine reserve, they're immediately under threat. There are hammerhead foraging grounds out in international waters and numbers have declined. There was a study cocoa sign, which is our neighbor in Galapagos, and they found that hammerhead sharks have declined by about forty five percent since the creation of the marine reserve, which is not the result you would hope for. So what you're advocating for an expansion of Ecuador's marine reserves, right that would help protect these areas of marine diversity and also. The. Shark. Species. I'm advocating on several levels I think first of all, we need to expand our reserve and this is something that we can do as a nation within our jurisdiction but I think we also need to play a more prominent role in the development of the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Agreement that is currently in the works, and this will allow for better protection for these species. Once they're in the high seas, it will even allow for the creation of open water or high seas, marine protected areas. So I think we to work on several levels. The international waters needs to be considered in a more conservation perspective than they have been until now. Alex. is a professor of biology at the. San Francisco, they keep in Ecuador Professor Arun. Thank you very much. Thank you.