In honor of World Oceans Day on June 8th, WildAid, OceanElders, and theBlu.com are holding an online global celebration entitled, “If You Love The Ocean, Download It!” The event, hosted at theBlu.com, will unite individuals, communities, and organizations all over the world in a global shared moment celebrating the beauty and significance of the world’s oceans.
Last year I embarked on the trip of a lifetime, taking half a year off to travel through South America. By December I had reached Galapagos. On arrival to Puerto Ayora, the economic capital of the archipelago, I made a beeline for a scuba centre and booked a few immersions to get acquainted with the marine wildlife.
WildAid’s continued work with the Galapagos Cargo and Quarantine Initiative, an endeavor committed to protecting the Galapagos Island’s unique biodiversity from exotic species and diseases introduced via food and product shipments from mainland Ecuador, has recently resulted in the streamlining of off-loading procedures at cargo dock facilities on two of the islands as well as a national regulation that requires Galapagos cargo ship owners to renew and classify their ships according to international standards within a one-year timeframe.
WildAid recently partnered with World Wildlife Fund and Conservation International to conduct a five day workshop aimed at improving the control and effectiveness of the Galapagos National Park Service (GNPS).
The workshop was administered by Harkcon, a leader in organizational and workforce management, and included special guests such as Coco Islands National Park Wardens, the Costa Rica Coast Guard, and Ecuador Undersecretary of Fisheries Officials.
Two years ago, diver Michael Aw was monitoring the health of local coral some 1,000 miles south of Bombay. Because this major tourist site in the Republic of Maldives is protected from most fishing, "what I least expected to see was a dying, finned shark," he says. Someone had hauled in the 6-foot gray reef shark, sliced off all its fins, and then tossed it overboard. To cover up the act, the plunderer had tied a 15-pound piece of coral to what remained of the tail to ensure the carcass would sink.
Early every morning, the cold water lapping up on the beach here is stained red with blood as surly, determined men in ragged T-shirts drag hundreds of shark carcasses off wooden skiffs and onto the white sand.
Using eight-inch boning knives with quick precision, they dismember the once-mighty predators, cutting off heads, carving up big slabs of meat, slashing off the tails. Most important, they cut off the fins - dorsal and pectorals - a "set" that can fetch $100 or more.
In Ecuador, celebrities don't come more celebrated than Alex Aguinaga, the country's most widely recognized soccer star and one of its most respected citizens.
So Ecuadorians took notice last October when Aguinaga—along with the coach and four other top players of the country's World Cup-bound national team—launched a petition drive aimed at pressing the government to curb the wholesale killing of sharks.
Recently, two isolated incidents occurred on the island of Baltra, Galapagos Islands that warrant dissemination to the international community and must be addressed by the President of Ecuador.
On March 14th, the Ecuadorian Navy arrested two Park Wardens in Baltra who were investigating a denouncement made by PetroEcuador. A single hulled tanker was illegally transferring and selling diesel fuel to a foreign yacht in a highly sensitive area.