Puerto Lopez, Ecuador

The Ecuadorian government recognized that a great number of shark species have been depleted by up to 90% over the past 20 years. By stepping up and banning shark fishing as a whole, Ecuador was celebrated for taking progressive measures to save these animals. In 2007; however, the law was modified to make only “targeted” shark fishing prohibited. This loophole now states that any fisherman who accidentally ensnares a shark can lawfully keep the animal. This technicality, combined with a meager $1.00 fine for every intentionally caught (adult) shark, leaves little incentive for fisherman to release their catch.

Most shark species can take anywhere from 5-18 years to reach sexual maturity. Sadly, a great number of these animals are being harvested before they even come close to a reproductive age. And once they're gone, they're gone forever.