While Assisting the Guatemalan Dept. of Fisheries & Navy on Patrols, Sea Shepherd Halted Several Large-Scale Poaching Operations
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Sea Shepherd Global have successfully halted several large-scale poaching operations in Guatemalan waters during three weeks of anti-poaching patrols in cooperation with officials from Guatemala’s Navy and Department of Fisheries.
Sea Shepherd provided its vessel — the Brigitte Bardot — and her crew to aid the patrols conducted by Guatemalan officials, joining members of the Fisheries Department and Navy. These patrols were arranged based on a prior agreement between Sea Shepherd Global and Guatemalan authorities, in accordance with Guatemalan legislation. Sea Shepherd applauds Guatemala for being open to cooperative efforts to stop poaching.
On each patrol, through the use of intelligence, the Sea Shepherd crew and Guatemalan officials were able to locate and halt poaching operations. These results point to the effectiveness of the patrols as well as the need for a continued partnership between the Guatemalan government and Sea Shepherd to halt these illegal activities.
During one patrol, Sea Shepherd crew and Guatemalan officials located a large fishing boat, which made an initial attempt to flee but then stopped for inspection. Onboard the ship, a catch of approximately one ton of sharks was discovered. The boat was being used to illegally fish in Guatemalan waters, without any papers or permits. One of the vessel’s crewmembers was also found to be underage at 16-years-old. Armed Naval officers took control of the vessel and escorted it back to port to face fines and other penalties.
On the third patrol, poachers who were found during the first patrol and fined $500 were once again found illegally fishing, proving that minimal fines are not enough to deter career-poachers from their illicit activities. Stronger punishments are needed.