January 30th, 2019

Ecuador’s highest court (la Corte Nacional de Justicia) will soon hear a case of monumental proportions. As many Sea Shepherd supporters know, Ecuadorian authorities busted the Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 in 2017 as the vessel transited through the Galapagos Marine Reserve with over 6,000 sharks on board, including CITES-listed hammerheads. It is illegal to possess or transport sharks within the Galapagos Marine Reserve.

In 2017, Ecuador took swift action to seize the vessel and sentence the captain and crew to terms in prison. The government also imposed a fine of approximately $6 million USD. To ensure payment, the government maintained possession of the vessel. The defendants are now arguing that this is illegal.

To ensure that the justice system takes into account the rights of nature, a doctrine in enshrined in Ecuador’s constitution, a local environmental group submitted an amicus brief to the court. We are cautiously optimistic that these arguments will prevail — and that the court will do the right thing. We are following this case closely and will provide updates as they occur.

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