The fleet, found just outside a protected zone, raises the prospect of damage to the marine ecosystem
Ecuador has sounded the alarm after its navy discovered a huge fishing fleet of mostly Chinese-flagged vessels some 200 miles from the Galápagos Islands, the archipelago which inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
About 260 ships are currently in international waters just outside a 188-mile wide exclusive economic zone around the island, but their presence has already raised the prospect of serious damage to the delicate marine ecosystem, said a former environment minister, Yolanda Kakabadse.
“This fleet’s size and aggressiveness against marine species is a big threat to the balance of species in the Galápagos,” she told the Guardian.
Kakabadse and an ex-mayor of Quito, Roque Sevilla, were on Monday put in charge of designing a “protection strategy” for the islands, which lie 563 miles west of the South American mainland.