Islands in peril

the unique biological heritage of the Galapagos islands would soon disappear if illegal fishing continues in their waters. Commercial fishing fleets from mainland Ecuador, the us and the Far East continue to fish in the Galapagos marine reserve despite an official ban.

According to Jack Grove, a fish biologist and research associate at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, tuna fleets have been filmed openly fishing in these protected waters where turtles, manta rays and sea lions also end up as their catch. Of the 437 species of fish found in the surrounding waters, 41 are unique to the Galapagos. In December 1996, the un's World Heritage Committee had warned that Ecuador would be put in the 'endangered' list, if the country does not take measures on 52 issues that threaten its status as a World Heritage Site.