From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1995:
Biologist Macarena Green of Quito, Ecuador, on January 12
issued an Internet SOS for marine life in the Galapagos islands. On
October 15, 1994, she said, the Ecuadoran government opened the region
to sea cucumber collection for the first time, setting a quota of 550,000 to
be picked over the next three months. “However, in two months the take
exceeded seven million,” Green stated. “Fishermen were not only collect-
ing sea cucumbers, but also sea horses, snails, sea urchins, and black
coral. Also, one fisherman admitted he had already sent to Japan sea lion
penises as a try-out for a new aphrodisiac. The Japanese buyer paid $50 for
each penis.” The sea cucumber season was closed due to the abuse on
December 15, but, “The people involved during the lucrative yet devastat-
ing enterprise were not about to accept that. During the first days of
January they took over installations of the Park Service and Darwin Station.
They kept all the people inside as hostages, including the wives of many of
the workers and children. They threatened to kill all the tortoises in captivi-
ty at the station, and they threatened to start fires on little islands,” which
would also kill endangered tortoises. Green begged that letters on behalf of
keeping the sea cucumber season closed, permanently, be sent to Arq.
Sixto Duran Ballen, Presidente Constitucional de la Republica de Ecuador,
Palacia de Gobierna, Quito, Ecuador.