May 23rd, 2019

On May 21, 2019, Ecuador’s highest court issued a landmark rulingin the fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Sea Shepherd Legal was honored to collaborate with Dr. Hugo Echeverría and a leading national organization, la Coordinadora Ecuatoriana de Organizaciones para la Defensa de la Naturaleza y el Medio Ambiente(CEDENMA), in the presentation of written arguments in this matter.

Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 - Photo credit: Ministerio de Ambiente

In August 2017, Ecuadorian authorities detained the Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999while this vessel was transiting through the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Upon boarding, government agents were confronted with a horrific scene: the dead, frozen bodies of more than 6,000 sharks. Because it is a crime to possess sharks in the Galapagos Marine Reserve, the government initiated criminal proceedings. The trial court ruled against the defendants, imposing a prison sentence for the captain and crew, as well as a $6.1 million USD fine. In addition, the court ordered the permanent forfeiture of the vessel.

Rejecting an appeal of these outcomes, Ecuador’s National Court of Justice announced its decision to uphold the fine and permanent forfeiture of the vessel. Given the size of the Fu Yuan Yu Leng – and its incredible capacity for destruction — the permanent forfeiture of the vessel is cause for celebration. In its work around the world, Sea Shepherd Legal consistently promotes vessel forfeiture as a remedy to prevent these instruments of crime from being used to commit further violations.

¡Gracias, Ecuador! En nombre de los tiburones, le saludamos.

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