Galapagos Islands: Sharkiest Place on the Planet

Posted on June 10, 2017 • Filed under: Ecuador, Ecuador Travel, Galapagos Islands

Monitoring sharks in the mid-Pacific: a journey to the sharkiest place in the world
Posted by Florencia Cerutti of Charles Darwin Research Station in Sciencetelling Stories on June 9, 2017

The Darwin Arch. Credit: Patricia Marti Puig/Charles Darwin Foundation
A long-dreamed opportunity for any biologist, I finally found my way to the Galápagos Islands last March. On the second week of my new position at the research station of the Charles Darwin Foundation, we embarked on a week-long field trip to the north of the archipelago: the islands of Darwin and Wolf, the sharkiest place in the world. Welcome to Galapagos to me!

Why Galapagos?

The Galapagos Islands have been a protected area since 1998, giving this archipelago the opportunity to stay almost as pristine as it was before human settlement. Although finding balance is challenging, the community here understands the importance of protecting the islands’ natural resources as tourism is the main economic source here. This protected archipelago is an example of a productive relationship between human and nature. There is hope.

Sharks are heavily fished worldwide as a source of protein and also for Chinese soup, which has led many species of sharks (and their cousins, the rays: next blog) to decline during recent decades. Largely due to SCUBA diving, sharks have become a tourism attraction in many localities worldwide, such as Galapagos. It is now recognized that sharks are worth more alive than dead and thanks to the efforts of many scientists, conservationists and the community, sharks are now protected in Galapagos waters. Because of this, the northern islands of Darwin and Wolf were recently declared a sanctuary by the Ecuadorian government. This sanctuary was created to protect a key ecosystem that supports the largest biomass of sharks found globally so far, says the study done by scientists at Charles Darwin Foundation. It will hopefully ensure that the declining populations of sharks have a refuge to recover from the overfishing happening elsewhere. Read Full Article


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