Nonetheless, if you support the notion of sustainable and responsible “Eco-tourism” (with a focus on local management and benefit) we are confident that you will understand the answer to this riddle. Read this section, together with the page: What is Vivencial Fishing?
Recreational Fishing, call it “Sport Fishing” if you like, is a sensitive and rather contentious issue here in the Galápagos.
“Sport Fishing”, at least by that name, is illegal in the Galápagos Marine Reserve - However “Vivencial Fishing” is permitted, subject to licensing and regulations set by the Galápagos National Park.
The essential distinction of Vivencial Fishing is that it can only be offered by fishermen of the Galápagos. Further regulations distinguish Vivencial Fishing from Sport Fishing including: size of boat and engines; exclusion of protected species; catch and release; hours of fishing etc.
As for permitted fishing methods, they include the normal sport fishing techniques such as trolling, popping, jigging, fly-fishing, etc. spearfishing is not permitted.
So the bottom line is: Yes - You can enjoy all the thrills normally associated with Sport Fishing but only on a boat and with an operator licensed to offer Vivencial Fishing, and subject to the special Vivencial Fishing regulations issued by the Galápagos National Park.
Permits & Licensing
Only a handful of boats are licensed to offer Vivencial Fishing to visitors.
Fishing, of any type, in the Galápagos Marine Reserve is regulated by various authorities but principally the Galápagos National Park. Both the boat and its owner must meet the requirements for licensing and operation. The requirements are stringent, and the bureaucratic process is both arduous and continuous.
Before it can leave port, a Vivencial Fishing boat is required to meet regulations and regular inspections before receiving authorization from a range of authorities including:
The Galápagos National Park \ Ministry of Environment
The Navy \ Port Authority
The Ministry of Tourism
The Ministry of Transport & Public Works
The local municipality
The process has to be repeated every year.
The quickest way to identify a legitimate operation is to look at the “AUTORIZACIÓN DE PESCA VIVENCIAL” issued by the Galápagos National Park.
Most operators and agencies will have the permit on display. In addition, they must carry the original documents on all excursions ready for inspection by the Park or Navy.
Note that the permit shows the days and times on which the boat may visit Léon Dormido (Kicker Rock) which is a key stop on the very popular “360 Tour”.
The owner must have a valid “PARMA” which is the license issued by the Galápagos National Park to an artisanal (i.e. commercial) fisherman\woman.
There are unlicensed boats - So called Pirates - That offer fishing at lower cost.
The pirates are usually licensed for commercial fishing and so are required to meet basic standards for seaworthiness and life safety. However Vivencial Fishing boats, which are licensed to carry tourists, have to meet much higher standards and all have 2 motors for additional security. The pirates also pay less for fuel and, unlike Vivencial Fishing boats, they sell the catch.
The Park and Navy conduct regular joint patrols on which they board vessels to inspect papers and licenses, and identify crew and passengers.
How easy it is to find a pirate depends much on the Park’s current level of diligence - Which is quite variable.