Galapagos rangers win exit of pro-fishing boss

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2004:


Quito, Ecuador–Ecuador environment minister Fabian
Valdivieso on September 27, 2004 appointed Galapagos National Park
biologist Victor Carrion interim park director, ending a 17-day
strike by the 300 park rangers.
Moving to placate fishers and their Ecuadoran Navy allies, Valdivieso
on September 10 touched off the strike by firing former park director
Edwin Naula.
Several international scientific and environmental
organizations froze funding to the park in anticipation of Naula’s
ouster, park spokesperson Diego Anazco told Associated Press. In
consequence, the rangers had not been paid since July.
Naula, a marine biologist, had led Galapagos National Park
staff efforts to halt sea cucumber poaching since 1997. The local
fishers responded with escalating mob violence. After the Ecuadoran
Navy failed to support the park rangers, Naula in 2000 invited the
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to help patrol the Galapagos marine
The Sea Shepherds in 2001 “documented an admiral accepting a
bribe to release a poaching vessel in the marine reserve,” according
to Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson. The admiral lost his job. The
navy retaliated in June and August 2004 by attempting to evict the
Sea Shepherds from Ecuadoran waters.

The Sea Shepherds supported the strike by the park rangers
with a call for a tourism boycott, but the fishers and navy appeared
to have the upper hand when Valdivieso on September 13 named a
previous Galapagos National Park director, Fausto Cepeda, to
replace Naula.
Cepeda, described by Watson as “a pro-fishing,
pro-development, anti-conservationist,” on September 21 tried to
cross the striking rangers’ picket line, with the help of about 40
rock-throwing fishers, Associated Press reported.
“Four park rangers were lightly injured before police
launched teargas canisters to disperse the fishers,” Ecuadoran TV
Channel 2 said.
The television exposure apparently shifted the balance of
opinion within the Ecuadoran government, as Cepeda was replaced six
days later.

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