In August 2017 a Chinese vessel—Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999— was found by Ecuadorian authorities in the Galapagos Marine Reserve to have 6626 dead sharks of various protected endangered species on board. This was the biggest seizure of sharks (and vessel) in the history of the Galápagos Islands. The crew was arrested and convicted by an Ecuadorian Provincial Court for transporting protected species and was fined approximately 6.1 million US dollars. The verdict was appealed, with the crew prosecuted for a crime against wildlife for the killing of over 6600 protected and endangered sharks. The National Court of Ecuador established criminal responsibility for unauthorized transport of protected marine fauna within a protected natural area. The court ordered the payment of $5.9 million for reparation of the ecosystem and sentenced the crew of the Chinese vessel Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999—the vessel carrying the sharks—to 1 to 4 years in prison.
The Ecuador Minister of the Environment, Tarsicio Granizo, stated that “this sentence is consistent with the policy of zero tolerance for disrespect for our sovereignty and our most basic principles as a nation, since Ecuador recognizes in its Constitution (2008) nature as a subject of Rights. This sentence marks a precedent in environmental legal matters, at the country and regional level”.