How Did 6,223 Sharks End Up on Ship With No Fishing Equipment?

By Zhou Chen, Gao Jia, Liu Hao, Wei Meng and Teng Jing Xuan

In August, Ecuadorean coast guards encountered a shocking sight on board a China-flagged ship intercepted within the Galapagos Marine Reserve — a hold filled to the ceiling with shark carcasses.

The loot on the ship, Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999, included baby sharks and endangered species like the scalloped hammerhead.

A court in San Cristobal, one of the ecologically rich Galapagos Islands, found the 20 crew on board the Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 guilty of breaking Ecuador’s Integral Criminal Organic Code by illegally transporting wildlife. Shark fishing as bycatch is legal in some Ecuadorean waters, but not within the Galapagos Marine Reserve.

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