In August this year, a fleet of around 300 Chinese fishing vessels attracted international attention when they congregated just outside Ecuador’s territorial waters around the famed Galápagos Islands. Said to be fishing for squid, the fleet’s checkered past raised concerns about the possibility the ships were actually targeting sharks and other threatened species.
While there was great outcry over fleet’s presence so close to a renowned ecological hotspot, the legal options were limited because the activities were occurring in international waters. Accordingly, there was virtually nothing the Ecuadorian navy — or conservationists — could do. But Ecuadorian environmental leader Yolanda Kakabadse is trying to come up with a solution.