QUITO, Ecuador – An Ecuadorean judge has sentenced 20 Chinese crewmembers to jail and levied a $5.9 million fine after their ship was found with 300 tons of frozen marine animals apparently from the Galapagos reserve, including protected sharks.
Judge Alexandra Arroyo announced late Sunday that the captain of the Fu Yuab Yu Leng 999 will serve four years in jail. Three assistants will each serve three years in jail while another 16 crewmembers received one-year sentences.
Ecuador's navy stopped the ship earlier in August near San Cristobal, the easternmost island of the Galapagos archipelago.
Authorities found more than 6,600 sharks from protected species inside the ship. Shark fin soup is a Chinese delicacy.
Authorities say the crew was fishing inside the Galapagos Marine Reserve, one of the world's largest.