The fins were in the courtyard of a house, getting dry in order to be sold later on and possibly exported. They were seized during a raid carried out by the Unit of Environment Protection, yesterday in the city of Esmeraldas.
Carlos Ramos, Environment Ministry official, who attended the anonymous denouncing call, said that inside the house was one person who could not justify the legality of the merchandise, so she was arrested. “It had no document whatsoever to establish the legality of having this type of fins,” said Ramos. The detainee just stated that the fins were bought at the port and that it was an incidental shark catch.
Since the Executive Order 486 active since July 30, 2007, legalized the incidental shark fishing, marketing and export of their fins, fishermen use it as an argument to defend themselves, which is the “involuntary capture of aquatic species with fishing gear or systems aimed to voluntary capture of other aquatic species.
Environmentalists warn that if the situation continues, the sharks in the Ecuadorian coast could disappear because most of these are slow to reach reproductive age, between two and ten years or more. They also have low reproductive rates.