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Ecuador | Lack of enforcement in Galápagos Marive Reserve driving down shark populations

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS, ECUADOR — The teeming waters that surround the famed Galapagos islands support more shark species than anywhere on Earth. Schools of wide-eyed scalloped hammerheads, 40,000-pound whale sharks, reef-patrolling whitetip sharks, more than 40 species in total, many endangered, are found only here.

Yet, these top marine predators, in an area thought of as the unspoiled wilderness that inspired Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theories, are being preyed upon by thousands of large and small fishing boats eager to sell shark fins to the Asian market where shark fin soup is a prized delicacy.

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