Fighting For What is Right for the People in Ecuador

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has scored a major victory over the last two weeks in Ecuador by exposing the names and political connections of the Shark Fin mafia.

Last week's major arrest of shark mafia leaders and the seizure of three tons of shark fins was the biggest illegal wildlife trade bust in Ecuadorian history. It was disappointing that the criminals were released and the illegal shark fins returned to the black market by the legal authorities in Manta but such an action begs for an investigation into alleged ties and connections between politicians, the courts and the criminals.

Sea Shepherd Galapagos Director Sean O'Hearn-Gimenez has had his visa reinstated by the Immigration Authorities of Ecuador. Sea Shepherd Ecuador is confident that President Rafael Correa will make good on his election promises to enforce conservation efforts in the Galapagos and in Ecuador.

"I think that Correa is an honest man with a difficult task of balancing very diverse interests in Ecuador," said Captain Paul Watson. "The man is literally stuck between a rock and a hard place and he can't make a decision without angering one side or the other. However he is a man who cares about the future and the children of Ecuador will not have a future if the sleazy shark-fin buyers from China succeed in criminally destroying the very marine eco-system which supports them. If the sharks are eradicated from Ecuadorian waters, the Ecuadorian coast eco-systems and especially the Galapagos will die and that is a crime against humanity and the future that I am sure President Correa does not wish to contribute to. He will do the right things because he is a humanitarian and an intelligent man."

Last week O'Hearn-Gimenez was accused of intervening in Ecuadorian Sovereignty despite the fact that Sea Shepherd and he have been working in complete cooperation with the police and the Galapagos National Park. It is the Chinese and Taiwanese shark fin buyers who are interfering with the sovereignty of Ecuador through corruption, bribery, violence and criminal activity.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society praises the actions of the Ecuadorian National Police after the most successful two months in Ecuadorian history of investigating and intervening against the criminal activities of the shark fin mafia.

"The police want to do their job and they want to do it honestly and in accordance with the laws of Ecuador," said Captain Paul Watson. "Sea Shepherd supports the police in this effort and we intend to continue to support the Environmental Police and the Galapagos National Park in the effort to save sharks and all other threatened wildlife species in the Galapagos."