In the Galapagos Islands, sea lions are victims of longline fishing

By Franklin Vega
Bitácora Ambiental
6 April 2021

Detail of the hook in the mouth of this sea lion. Photo of a sea lion with a hook in its mouth. The image was captured on the afternoon of Monday, April 5, on Plaza Sur island near Santa Cruz. Photo: Courtesy

On the afternoon of Monday, April 5, on Plaza Sur island to the east of Santa Cruz Island, several photographs were taken of a sea lion with a hook in its mouth. This hook is part of a fishing method known as palangre – or longline – that is prohibited in Galapagos.

The longline consists of a line from which dozens or hundreds of baited hooks hang, as seen in the illustration.

Source: Government Council of the Galapagos Special Regime https://www.gobiernogalapagos.gob.ec/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/manual_armado_artes_de_pesca_galapagos_compressed.pdf

The problem with using longlines, especially in Galapagos, is the high percentage of incidental fishing, namely, of protected species that are not the target of fishing. For example: sea lions, boobies, albatrosses, frigates, sharks [are subject to the threat of incidental fishing].

In 2018, a study was carried out in the Galapagos on a variety of longline [fishing] which is known as Empate Oceánico Modificado, or Modified Ocean Tie. Norman Wray, Minister President of the Galapagos Government Council, confirmed to BitácoraEc that “the use of the oceanic tie is not approved.” However, on several occasions the use of longlines has been observed in the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Debate opened in July 2020, and the requests from some artisanal fishermen’s unions to authorize the use of the method are constant.

Photo of a sea lion with a hook in its mouth. The image was captured on the afternoon of Monday, April 5, on the Plaza Sur island near Santa Cruz, Photo: Courtesy

Sea lion on Genovesa Island. Photo: Jerson Moreno / Conservation International Ecuador

In addition to the longline, trash is another threat to marine life; see our report how plastics and fishing nets are enemies of life in the Galapagos Marine Reserve.

An artisanal fisherman from the islands was contacted, and they assured that these types of hooks are used by longline boats that sneak into the Galapagos Marine Reserve. He points out that [artisanal fishermen] hope that the use of the Modified Oceanic Tie will be authorized. However, the questions from the conservation sector regarding the use of this fishing method are permanent.

In July 2020, the Association of Naturalist Guides of the Galapagos National Park warned through a public statement entitled: “Should the artisanal spinel or calender be allowed in Galapagos?”

This video explains the use of the longline in detail:

Read the original coverage from Bitácora Ambiental at https://www.bitacoraec.com/post/en-las-islas-gal%C3%A1pagos-los-lobos-marinos-son-v%C3%ADctimas-de-la-pesca-con-palangre

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