Cablegate: Ecuador Bans Export of Shark Fins

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary. President Gutierrez has issued a decree banning
the export of shark fins. The ban applies to all shark fins,
whether they are intentionally harvested or are the result of
bi-catch. Despite having been consulted prior to the
decree's issuance, a local fishing group is asking President
Gutierrez to revoke it. End Summary.

2. President Gutierrez signed a Presidential decree on
October 7, 2004 banning the export or internal sale of shark
fins taken in Ecuadorian territorial waters. The ban covers
all shark fins, whether they were intentionally harvested or
are the result of bi-catch. Those caught harvesting shark
fins will have their fishing licenses suspended until a
judicial authority issues an appropriate sanction. The
decree also bans the importation of equipment used to harvest
shark fins and prohibits discarding sharks on the high seas.

3. The decree was issued only after the proposed ban was
presented to and discussed by all parties which it would
affect, including the Consejo Pesquero (Fishing Council), a
group that represents fishing interests in the islands. The
Consejo approved of the ban, but has since withdrawn its
support because of protests from some of its members. The
Consejo is now calling on the President to revoke the decree.
Environmental groups praise the ban.

4. The decree could have a positive impact on conservation
efforts in the Galapagos. We have congratulated GOE
officials on the decree and will urge that they keep it in
place. Political support for the fishermen is limited to
coastal Manabi and Guayas provinces.


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