Ecuadorian Defense Minister Oswaldo Jarrin told reporters last week that the country was monitoring a fleet of Chinese fishing vessels off the Galapagos Islands (Reuters). Vessels like these pose a threat to the marine life of the Galapagos Islands, and species such as sharks, manta rays and tuna (El Universo). Patrols are currently surrounding the islands to make sure that the vessels do not enter the ecosystem from international waters (BBC). Former Environment Minister Yolanda Kakabadse and former mayor of Quito, Roque Sevilla, were placed in charge Monday of developing a defense strategy for the islands (Guardian).
Chinese vessels travel to the Galapagos Islands every year to fish, and in 2017 a ship was caught carrying over 300 tonnes of wildlife (BBC). Tarsicio Granzino, current director of WWF-Ecuador, accused the vessels of taking advantage of fishing regulations in international waters and of using unsustainable techniques (El Universo). Ecuador is taking a number of steps to protect the ecosystem, such as extending the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) around the islands (Guardian). The Galapagos Islands are a UNESCO World Heritage site, and where Charles Darwin made observations central to the development of his theory of evolution (BBC).