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Action Alerts
CONTACT THE FOLLOWING:

Send a fax, e-mail, or make a call.
Tell them you oppose
longline fishing in the Galapagos.

Fabián Valdiviezo
Ministro de Ambiente del Ecuador
Tel. 593 2 256-3462
Fax. 593 2 250-0041

Alfredo Palacio Presidente Constitucional de la República del Ecuador Tel. 593 2 258-0833
Fax. 593 2 258-0748

Gladys Eljuri
Ministra de Turismo
Tel. 593 2 222-8304
Fax. 593 2 222-9330

Cónsul General of Ecuador
(San Francisco)
Gustavo Palacio Urrutia
Tel. 415 982 1819
Fax. 415 982 1833
gustavopalaciou@aol.com

Sr. Raul Gangotena
Ambassador of Ecuador
to the United States
email: embassy@ecuador.org
Tel. (202) 234-7200
Fax. (202) 667-3482, (202) 265-6385

Mr. Francesco Bandarin
Director, World Heritage Centre, UNESCO, Paris, France
Tel. +33 - (0)1-45-68-17-88
Fax. +33-(0)1-45-68-55-70

Ambassador
Permanent Delegation of Ecuador to UNESCO Paris, France
Tel. 01.45.68.33.03
Fax. 01.43.06.49.06

MEDIA CONTACTS

El Comercio
Jorge Rivadeneira
Fax. 5932 670866

El Universo (Guayaquil)
Rubén Darío Buitrón
Fax. 593 4 249 2925

Expresso
Jose Hernandez
Fax. 593 4 220 0291 hernandezj@granasa.com.ec

Diario Hoy
Paulina Coronel
pcoronel@hoy.com.ecAlfredo Palacio

The Galapagos National Park and Marine Reserve is facing dire threats from corrupt elements within Ecuador who would rather see short-lived profits off destructive long-line fishing than conserve the islands for their wildlife, for the people of Ecuador, and for vastly more productive and sustainable nature tourism.

Please join us in speaking out to help protect the Galapagos!
Background on the longline fishing issue within the Galapagos (from IGTOA, the Galapagos Tourism Association)

Sample letters (in Microsoft Word) to fax to save the Galapagos:

**** PLEASE NOTE, FOR FAX NUMBERS IN ECUADOR YOU MUST DIAL 011 FIRST, FROM THE USA ****

Please email us a copy of your letter.
Don't hesitate to contact us for more information.

Below is a press release about the situation, from IGTOA:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GALAPAGOS ISLANDS IN PERIL

International tourism association issues warning about the survival of the Galapagos Islands.

Ithaca, New York (January 24, 2005) -- The fight to preserve the Galapagos Islands is being lost. So reports the nonprofit International Galapagos Tour Operators Association. (www.igtoa.org).

In a report on January 21, 2005, entitled, The State of the Galapagos, they say: “Slowly but surely, we're losing the fight to preserve the Galapagos Islands. Yes, tourism is doing fine, and travelers are arriving in record numbers. But look a little deeper; the news is not good. At the peak of their popularity, the Galapagos are in trouble.”

The report states that even under the best of circumstances, protecting the Galapagos is an enormous task. Invasive species of plants and animals require millions of dollars for scientific studies and eradication programs. The surrounding marine reserve, which supports all terrestrial life, is under attack from overfishing.

The Galapagos Islands belongs to Ecuador, which has historically been supportive of conservation. But that has changed. And without that support, the task of conservation is insurmountable.

Narrow interests seek to exploit the islands' rich marine reserve. At the same time, elements within the Ecuadorian government have weakened the role of the Galapagos National Park, which has had responsibility for monitoring and control of the archipelago.

  • Eight Park Directors have come and gone in the last two years.
  • A strike last September by Park staff over political meddling and mismanagement turned violent when fishermen attacked the headquarters.
  • The staff that participated in the strike now find themselves on the outside. Contracts for 150 of the 226 park rangers have not been renewed, leaving the Galapagos National Park critically understaffed.
  • Former Park employees report that the activities of the Park have been paralyzed, especially the monitoring and control of the Marine Reserve.
  • Technical studies and regulatory mechanisms are being ignored.
  • The government has stopped education for National Park Guides. A guides' course has not been held for the past eight years.
  • Only one patrol boat is currently operating.
  • In an ominous new development, the government of Ecuador proposes that the patrol of the Galapagos Marine Reserve, carried out under statute by the Galapagos National Park, be turned over to the Ecuadorian navy.

    Equally ominous, the practice of longline fishing may soon be introduced. Longline fishing has recently been denounced by world scientists for its destructive “by-catch,” resulting in the death of sea birds, sharks, turtles, and other species. A recent article in Science magazine reports that longlining kills 300,000 albatross each year. Nineteen of the twenty-one world species of albatross are in danger of extinction.

    In a letter to the Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, IGTOA asked for an investigation that may ultimately place the Galapagos on the list of World Heritage Sites in danger.

    The IGTOA report and other information can be viewed on IGTOA's website: www.igtoa.org. IGTOA's Executive Director, David Blanton, can be contacted at exd@igtoa.org

    The Galapagos Islands, which Charles Darwin visited on a voyage as a young man, were declared a World Heritage Site in 1978. The Marine Reserve was added in 2001. The islands are home to plants and animals found nowhere else on earth, including giant tortoises, from which the islands get their name. They lie about six hundred miles off the Ecuadorian coast in the Pacific Ocean. Tourism contributes one hundred and fifty million dollars to the Ecuadorian economy. Fishing in the Galapagos accounts for about six million dollars.

    IGTOA is a nonprofit association of travel companies, conservation organizations, and other groups that are dedicated to the complete and lasting protection of the Galapagos Islands and the surrounding Marine Reserve. It has thirty-five members worldwide in the US, Canada, UK, France, and Ecuador.

    Its mission is to preserve the Galapagos Islands as a unique and priceless world heritage that will provide enjoyment, education, adventure and inspiration to present and future generations of travelers. Membership is open to commercial and nonprofit organizations.