Ecuador has seized 815 shark fins in the Galapagos Islands in a fresh case of illegal fishing that environmentalists say threatens the archipelago’s pristine ecosystem.
Galapagos park officials are trying to crack down on illegal shark finning, where fishermen cut off fins and dry them before smuggling them to the Ecuadorean mainland or abroad to Asia for use in shark fin soup.
Park and navy officials seized the fins during a patrol on Wednesday on Isabela Island and detained two fisherman, a Korean salesman and the owner of a truck found at the site, the park said in a statement received on Saturday.
The park did not say how much the fins were worth or how many sharks they estimated were killed.
Environmentalists worry that illegal shark fishing could endanger Galapagos’ marine ecosystem by cutting down on its top predators. The Galapagos Islands are home to giant tortoises, sea lions and exotic birds that inspired 19th century British naturalist Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection.