Ecuador Decides to Sell Fins (8 Comments)

The president of Ecuador overturned legislation banning the sale of fins last week. Now sharks that are caught, even accidentally, can become profitable from the sale of their fins. I was just on Larry King with a wildlife photographer from the Galapagos Islands, and she said that as soon as the new legislation was passed, the islands were ravaged. This legislation basically opened the season on sharks, turning the Galapagos Islands, one of the last refuges for sharks, into a target. This is a bad move for Ecuador, and a step in the wrong direction considering most countries are stepping up their protection, not removing it. Let Ecuador know that you’re tourist dollars will be spent elsewhere until they replace the ban.

8 Responses to “Ecuador Decides to Sell Fins”

    1. pua26 August 7th, 2007 at 12:35 pm

      This is what is going on in Ecuador. Sean is my nephew. I would like to know how this could get more exposure.

      Shark Fin Scandal Explodes in Ecuador: Sea Shepherd Director Illegally Ousted
      All hell broke loose in Ecuador on Saturday over the exposure of political corruption connected with the wealthy shark fin mafia. The mayor of Quito, Paco Moncayo, attempted to block the illegal extradition of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Director Sean O’Hearn-Gimenez with a writ of habeas corpus.
      The issuance of a writ of habeas corpus meant that all procedures against O’Hearn-Gimenez should have been frozen until a legal hearing could be held on Monday. However, the government chose to ignore the law by forcing O’Hearn-Gimenez’s immediate deportation in violation of the writ and Mayor Moncayo’s orders. The Immigration Police seized O’Hearn-Gimenez with the intent to transport him to the Peruvian border. O’Hearn-Gimenez did not have a passport with him. He is an American citizen and a legal resident of Ecuador. The actions of the Immigration Police were blatantly illegal.
      This happened because Sea Shepherd, in partnership with the Ecuadorian National Environmental Police, recently busted the biggest shark fin smuggling operation in the port city of Manta. O’Hearn-Gimenez and the police hit three different storage facilities, seizing nearly three tons of sharks fins (about 30,000 fins) and arresting over a dozen criminals—some very wealthy and well-connected criminals, as it turns out.
      All of O’Hearn-Gimenez’s activities were conducted in partnership with the police, and a legal warrant was obtained prior to raiding the storage areas where the illegal fins were found and confiscated. Sea Shepherd, a registered Ecuadorian non-governmental organization, is party to a signed agreement of cooperation with the Ecuadorian police. Sea Shepherd’s role was to provide technical assistance to the police, who led the raid and made the arrests.
      In response to the most recent raid and seizure, fishermen in Manta rioted. According to information received by the police, death threats were issued against O’Hearn-Gimenez, and a price was posted on his head. In response to these threats and the contract issued against O’Hearn-Gimenez, the National Police placed him under continuous armed guard.
      O’Hearn-Gimenez was driving to a meeting in Quito—escorted by two National Police intelligence officers appointed by the Director General as a security detail—when an Immigration Police truck cut in front of them. Twelve Immigration Police officers jumped out and demanded credentials. They seized O’Hearn-Gimenez’s Ecuadorian residency card and informed him that his visa had been revoked by order of the Civil Head of Immigration.
      O’Hearn-Gimenez refused to leave the car until Sea Shepherd lawyer, Gina Solis, had arrived. Solis was roughed up by the Immigration Police when she attempted to speak with her client. O’Hearn-Gimenez was then taken to the Immigration Police headquarters and—without due process—orders were issued for his immediate deportation. O’Hearn-Gimenez was denied access to his lawyer during this procedurally insufficient hearing, which took place on Saturday, August 4 at 11:00 am. He made only one statement: “I think this hearing is not following Ecuadorian law and is unjust; let this be reflected on the record.”
      O’Hearn-Gimenez’s wife, a native Ecuadorian from the Galapagos, arrived on the scene with their baby daughter and spoke to the media in defense of her husband’s actions. She pointed out that O’Hearn-Gimenez was merely working to uphold the laws protecting marine wildlife in Ecuador and requested that Mayor Moncayo issue a writ of habeas corpus, which he did.
      This incident has blown the lid off the cesspool of corruption within the government and military that has allowed unrestricted illegal trade in sharks and wildlife products to flourish in Ecuador.
      Shockingly, the judge in Manta released all of the previously arrested poachers and ordered the return of the shark fins to the criminals.
      Sea Shepherd has succeeded in revealing the names and faces of the people who control the illegal trade in shark fins. This trail of corruption is forcing those politicians and members of the military involved in the trade to expose themselves as guilty through their illegal attempts to protect criminals by persecuting Sea Shepherd staff and the police.
      Sea Shepherd applauds the dedication to duty displayed by the National Police, Director of the Galapagos National Park Raquel Molina, Mayor Moncayo, and Congressman Carlos Gonzalez.
      Captain Watson and his crew are on board the conservation research ship Farley Mowat just outside of Ecuadorian waters. Just yesterday, they seized an illegal longline set in the Galapagos Marine Reserve.
      All efforts are being made to appeal to Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa to personally review this case and to use his presidential authority to defend justice. Sea Shepherd is confident that he will do so.
      Sean O’Hearn-Gimenez needs your support. Please contact the U.S. Embassy in Quito by e-mail, phone, or fax to request legal protection for O’Hearn-Gimenez:
      Linda L. Jewell
      U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador
      Phone: 011-593-256-2890
      Fax: 011-593-256-1524
      After hours phone: 011-593-223-4126 or 011-593-256-1749

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    1. Tanya O'Hearn-Gimenez August 9th, 2007 at 11:08 pm

      this mind boggling to me. I’m sure you’ve heard all about what’s going on with my brother Sean in Ecuador. It’s scary at the moment for him and our family.
      We are hoping and praying he can come back to the USA for a little bit until this dyes down a little.
      I’m proud of my brother and I support everything he is doing. I will continue to support and back him up in any decision he decides.
      I’ve been in contact with Sean on a daily basis (4 or 5 times a day) making sure he is ok and finding ways my family and I can help. I’ve made tons of phone calls and research. I’ve been keeping an eye on the media world wide. Specially the folks in Ecuador.
      My mother is worried sick about him. She has a heart condition and I’ve kept her out of the loop unless it is necessary to tell her anything.
      My two aunts (Denise and Michelle) have been emailing everyone we could think of for support.
      My family and I are proud of him. We just worry about his safty.

    1. David O'Dwyer August 22nd, 2007 at 4:39 am

      Does anyone know how and who to contact regarding the decision to overturn the legislation banning selling shark fins. Should be the Ecuador minister for tourism or the presidents office..

      Regarding Sean, will try to send an email to the US embassador.

    1. Paul August 31st, 2007 at 2:11 pm

      There is a cool way to help conserve sharks and learn more about them at the same time. Check out where the public can adopt a shark that has been satellite tagged and they find out where it went. The money from the adoption goes to buy more tags and support the program. It is really cool. Right now they are tagging great whites in Guadalupe Island, you can even name the shark you adopt!

    1. Wahoo October 6th, 2007 at 11:34 am

      Thank you for sharing!

    1. Daniela June 11th, 2008 at 11:47 am

      I first I thought the law that permitted the sales of fins was a logical move. Poor fishermen being forced to drop back into the sea the valuable fins that came from a shark accidentaly trapped in the net? WHY? It’s a good thing they changed that! I guess I was naive. Well, the prices from the fins dropped here so the fisherman gets paid less… also a supposedly “good thing” because that way isn’t motivated to trap sharks and claim it was an “accident” but the price of shark fins are still high in Asia, therefore the ones who commercialize (NOT poor fishermen) now end up getting ALL the profit instead of a high percentage. The law provides an excuse for the mafia, not an answer for the people and the ecosystem.

      I’m from this beautiful country called Ecuador and -since I’m in constant touch with poverty- I’m moved when something is supposed to raise people’s quality of life, but when a Sea Shepperd Director is unfairly imprisoned and everybody else seems to see it as an isolated happening instead of as an exposure of the corruption in which the Galapagos Islands is sinking, makes you wanna see the larger picture.

      I’m very eager for the movie’s release in Ecuador (I guess subtitles take their time *sighs*) and by the way, superb soundtrack.

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