Galapagos, a Shark Sanctuary

Due to the wide variety of marine life in the Archipelago, the Government of Ecuador decided to create a marine sanctuary around Darwin and Wolf Islands in the Galapagos, thereby protecting the world’s greatest concentration of sharks. The sanctuary includes more than 15,000 square miles within the existing Galapagos Marine Reserve. From an economic perspective, a 2015 report found that sharks also have an immense value to tourism, which greatly outweighs their value to the fishing industry.

Tourists travel from all over the world to visit the Islands and dive to see the sharks. More than 34 different species of sharks can be found in these waters.

The Value of Keeping Sharks Alive

A recent National Geographic Pristine Seas Project study found that on average, a live shark has a value of $5.4 million over its lifetime, contributing to the Galapagos’ $186 million annual earnings from tourism and diving, according to an article on the National Geographic website. On the contrary, a dead shark will only represent $200 for the fisherman.

These protection efforts are particularly targeted to protect the numerous species of endangered sharks that inhabit the region, including the hammerhead. The marine reserve serves as a shark sanctuary, protecting an area that has the world’s greatest number of sharks.

Some Galapagos Cruises offers the opportunity to  do Scuba Diving Tours, 

depending on your experience you can choose the right itinerary for you.

Galapagos Islands

Ecuador is one of the most biodiverse country on the planet including several ecosystems within it. The Galapagos Islands certainly have their own ecosystems and are famous for a wealth of unique plants and animals found nowhere else on earth.

The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands that are located around the Equator in the Pacific Ocean. They are a UNESCO World Heritage site. Nowadays 97% of the area is a National Park to protect the unique nature and species.

The organisms on Galapagos are all originated from specimens brought in by sea currents, air currents or birds. Because of the distance between the Galapagos and the mainland, an unrivalled evolution has taken place. Furthermore they were the source of Charles Darwin’s (1809-1882) theory of evolution and still remain an amazing laboratory for scientists today. In his honor they built the Charles Darwin Station to breed more giant tortoises, where also the famous Lonesome George lived until he died.

Galapagos Endemic Species:

  • Galapagos Giant Tortoise (13 subspecies)
  • Land Iguana
  • Marine Iguana
  • Galapagos Penguin
  • Flightless Cormorant
  • Darwin’s finch (13 species)
  • Scalesia (15 species)
  • Various species of Cactaceae

These species can only be found on Galapagos.

This ecosystem is threatened by illegal fishing, non-native species and the demands of more than 160,000 tourists each year. Ecological damage was caused long ago by whalers, pirates and early settlers and the presence of aggressive introduced species. This has disrupted natural biological processes in Galapagos. One big plague were the goats that were brought from the mainland. They were killed out of helicopters a few years ago, to preserve the Islands.

The Islands suffer also from similar problems like other volcanic islands that are for example the shortage of fresh water and the presence of persistent soil. But unlike other islands, Galapagos still has a lot of its own biodiversity. The key to maintain this ecosystem is to let it work with little influence by man.

The Global Strategy for Nature Conservation identifies Galapagos as a priority biogeographical province for the establishment of protected areas. Because of this, the inhabitants but also the tourists have to follow certain rules to not distrub the ecosystem. Sometimes it can be difficult for the inhabitants to live in this area due to so many strict rules. Everything that happens on these Islands is controlled by the government of Ecuador. You have to get different licences for every kind of work.

Fishermen for example can only do their job in small boats without a sunglind, without nets or motor-powered hoists. On the islands there are almost no cars. People are only allowed to have a car, when you need it for your work. Otherwise they have to use a taxi or bike.

Due to all that facts, Galapagos is a quiet paradise with animals and plants you will not find in any other place.

Are you interested in visiting a place that is so unique, natural and breathtaking??

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