Galapagos news

Jerry Wellington wellington at UH.EDU
Fri Dec 8 11:30:55 EST 2000

Jim,  Your news is actually a bit late:  Here attached are a the most
recent developments.  You can certainly post all or part of it.  
The response for the President of Ecuador is somewhat encouraging.

Jerry Wellington


Peace talks for Galápagos

PUERTO BAQUERIZO MORENO The pressure from the Galapagos fishermen and the 
predisposition of the Environmental Minister, Rodolfo Rendón, to talk about 
the problems of this sector led to yesterday s encounter between both 
parties in the II Naval Zone headquarters, on the island of San Cristobal.

At the end, a framework for dialogue was opened up and while the diverse 
problems are being solved at least for the moment new actions from the 
fishing sector have been dismissed, according to Milton Aguas, former mayor 
of San Cristobal and leader of the island s fishermen.

Minister Rendón went to the meeting with the fishermen s promise to not 
disturb the peace and to treat the meeting seriously.

Also attending the meeting were the governor of Galapagos, Fabián Parra, 
and officials of the Galapagos National Park, the Galapagos National 
Institute (Ingala) and the Charles Darwin Station, organizations in charge 
of the conservation of the World Heritage Site, among other authorities.

The meeting lasted four hours and it concluded to the satisfaction of both 
parties, Waters indicated.

Answer without deadline

Minister Rendón listened to the bill of around 20 petitions, and he agreed 
to respond to them in writing and to solve them in a peremptory term, while 
the fishermen guaranteed that they will maintain a period of waiting and 
that they won't strike. The problems mentioned by the directives of the 
four fishing cooperatives of the archipelago are centered on the extension 
of seasons and fishing quotas and the use of certain fishing methods that 
are presently prohibited.

Also the fishermen question the GNP s concession of permits for fishing and 
tourist activities, according to them outside the law. The freedom of the 
three men detained because of the strike two weeks ago and permission to 
increase the number of flights to San Cristobal are other requests.



Quito, 21st November 2000



  Fundacion Natura, the Ecuadorian Committee for the Defense of Nature and 
the Environment (CEDENMA), the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), and TRAFFIC 
South America express their extreme concern at the recent events of 
antagonism, violence, criminality and lack of security caused by a group of 
the fishing sector in the Galapagos Islands.   Some of the most serious are 
the persecution and physical aggression against park officials on the 
island of San Cristobal, and death threats against officials of the Charles 
Darwin Research Station and the Galapagos National Park , as well as 
burning of the installations of the National Park and the looting of the 
offices of the Research Station and the home of Juan Chavez, Head of the 
Park in Isabela.

The constant defiance of authority by this group of the fishing sector must 
not once again remain unpunished, in which regard the four environmental 
organizations, national and international, call for the immediate 
punishment of those responsible for these lamentable acts.   The 
considerable success which the Ecuadorian society has achieved in 
establishing dialogue procedures in relation to issues in Galapagos would 
be in jeopardy if dialogue is not resumed and no precedents for punishment 

The Interinstitutional Authority for the Management of the Marine Reserve 
(AIM), at the beginning of the lobster fishery season, decided on a maximum 
quota of 50 tons of lobster or to carry on fishing this species until 31st 
December 2000, with the agreement of the parties concerned.   Nevertheless, 
once the fixed quota had been reached, a group of the fishing sector,  by 
violent means, demanded a review of the decisions previously agreed, acting 
not only against the participative process but also against authority, the 
Special Law for Galapagos, its rules and the management plan for the Marine 

The fishing sector in the Archipelago increased immeasurably between 1999 
and 2000, according to the data of the Charles Darwin Research 
Station.   The number of boats increased by 76%, from 222 boats in 1999 to 
417 in the year 2000.  The number of  fishermen increased from 795 in 1999 
to 1387 in 2000, an increase of 74%.   A great number of  people, without 
any link with the traditional fishing sector, were admitted.  These people 
have been attracted by the lucrative nature of this industry, given that 
the lobster fishery is not a subsistence activity.

Among the sector of traditional artisanal fishermen of Galapagos there is a 
commitment to long term conservation of the resources of the Marine 
Reserve, thanks to the participative guidelines laid down in the law.   The 
acts of violence have been carried out by a minority group of the sector, 
who only see the fishery as a highly lucrative activity in the short term.

The growth of the fishing sector does not provide for a sustainable use of 
the resource.   We exhort the authorities, the users of the resources and 
the society in general to foster a type of development which is compatible 
with the long term conservation of Galapagos.

To guarantee compliance with the Law, the authorities require the 
strengthening of control and vigilance, the pursuit of processes of 
punishment and the commitment of the general public to respect the 
resolutions made by consensus.

The four organizations consider concerted action by the authorities 
indispensable to put an end to the rising conflict which, if allowed to 
continue, would allow new and even greater pressure from the group of 
fishermen, such as a review of the size of the artisanal fishing fleet and 
the opening of new fisheries:  shark, sea urchins and molluscs.

To salvage the considerable advances made in the participative management 
process of the Galapagos Marine Reserve, the four organizations consider 
the priority to be a return to dialogue as the suitable mechanism for a 
definite resolution of these serious problems, following the channels set 
down by the laws of the republic.  The consolidation of the participative 
process depends on the willingness of the parties to maintain dialogue as 
the only decision making tool.


Puerto Ayora, December 01, 2000

Lobster fishing season in the Galapagos Islands was opened following
Resolution No.007-2000 of the Interinstitutional Management Authority of
the Galapagos Marine Reserve (IMA-GMR).  It established a fishing quota for
green lobster (Panulirus gracilis) and red lobster (P. penicillatus) during
a period running from September 1 through December 31, 2000, or until the
quota (50 tons) was reached.  The quota, accepted by the fishing sector,
was reached on 31 October.

This fact (reaching the established quota before 31 December) gave origin
to a negative reaction from the fishing sector, particularly in Isabela
Island, where, during the week from 13 to 17 November, violent attacks were
perpetrated against public and private properties.

As a consequence of the chaotic situation we were living, an open support
from the Ecuadorian government was demanded.  As a result of this, last
Friday (30 November), a meeting was held in San Cristobal Island.  The
attendants included various local authorities and the Minister of
Environmental Affairs, Arq. Rodolfo Rendón.  During this meeting, a more
decisive cooperation was requested, for the park rangers from the Galapagos
National Park to carry on the control and surveillance activities.  This
request was supported by a message from the Ecuadorian President, Dr.
Gustavo Noboa, that stated the need to conserve the extraordinary
biodiversity and the ecosystems of Galapagos.  The Minister met also with
representatives of the fishing sector, and an invitation was officially
extended for their participation of the next IMA-GMR session, where in an
orderly manner, the situation and demands of the fishing sector, will be

Currently, the province is militarized, especially San Cristobal and
Isabela islands, following the government's commitment.  Two of the twelve
riot leaders are in prison, one in Guayaquil (mainland Ecuador) and another
one in Santa Cruz Island.  Judicial trials have been started against those
who participated in the sad events of last November, which have been widely

The National Government has committed itself to reinforce the law,
punishing those who go against it and its regulations.  The President's
message said, also, that attending the needs of Galapagos are amongst the
priorities of this government, in order to improve the working conditions
and quality of life of local islanders, keeping always in mind natural
environments conservation as an axis to articulate all these actions.

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