Navigate / search

Galapagos Islands Campaign

Help Us Support The Galapagos Campaign

The Galapagos Islands are situated 1000 km off the coast of Ecuador, and in 1978 this ‘living laboratory of evolution’ became one of the first natural World Heritage Sites. The Galapagos Marine Reserve (GMR) is the second largest in the world, covering 140,000 sq km of coastal and marine ecosystems. The marine reserve supports the very existence of many rare and endangered animal and fish species.

But it is now severely threatened… Fishing within 40 miles of the Islands is illegal under Ecuadorian law for all but traditional fishermen living in the Galapagos. However, foreign and Ecuadorian fishing vessels regularly poach within the protected areas, placing extreme pressure on the resources of both the Galapagos National Park, the government body responsible for enforcing the law, and the Charles Darwin Research Station, whose vital monitoring and research programmes help to identify the species most at risk. The protection of this important archipelago is the responsibility of the government of Ecuador. However, the international community must also play its part and support the government in its efforts to ensure that the law is enforced and exploitation stopped.

Some frequently asked questions: Q. How many shark and ray species are there in Galapagos? A. 30 species of shark and 13 species of ray have been recorded in Galapagos.

Q. What are the main threats?
A. Long-line and gillnet fishing, and climatic change associated with global warming and El Ninos.

Q. How many sharks are killed each year, and for what purpose?
A. Shark fishing is illegal, and there are currently no accurate records of numbers killed. Most are caught for their fins only, but filleted frames of shark have been found washed up on beaches on Isabela, indicating that all meat was removed. There are records of a particular catch that included several hundred shark bodies.

Q. What is being done to prevent the exploitation and killing of sharks in Galapagos?
A. The Galapagos National Park has increased patrolling to better detect fisheries infringements, particularly in offshore waters. Illegal catches are confiscated and fines are imposed. Longline fishing is also banned in GMR waters, pending further research into bycatch. It is hoped to step up the inspection of air freight for shark fins.

The Galapagos Conservation Trust and The Shark Trust would like to thank:

Tui de Roy and Jonathan Green – They have both spent many years photographing wildlife in the Galapagos and have kindly allowed us to use two of their best underwater images to help us protect the Galapagos Marine Reserve.

Julian and Lincoln Barnwell – both passionate divers who run their own printing company. They have donated the printing, their time, resources, and expertise to protect the Galapagos Marine Reserve.

All profits from the sale of these pictures will be equally divided between the Galapagos Conservation Trust (Registered Charity No. 1043470), and The Shark Trust (Reg. charity No.1064185)

Sorry, posters are no longer available.

With your help, much more can be done!

TAKE ACTION: Visit the Galapagos Conservation Trust website shop and choose from a selection of gifts. Your purchase will help turn the tide to preserve this world marine ecological wonder. All profits from the sale of items in the shop will go towards conservation in Galapagos.