In the 1990s, Ecuador became the main Latin-American shrimp producer. This industry has been mainly developed in the South -central Ecuadorian estuaries. However, in 1994 this sector suffered from the Taura syndrome, a virus affecting the shrimps and, as a result, it enormously reduced their production. Shrimp farmers expended therefore their activities to the northern Ecuadorian coast. A large shrimp consortium bought up 24,000 hectares out of a total 35,000 hectares belonging to the Pampanal island in the county of Eloy Alfaro. This area is one of the most impoverished regions in the country and it is inhabited by afro-Ecuadorian communities. Traditional mangrove gatherers mobilized to try stopping the shrimp pond expansion, as they are aware of bad consequences this industry usually brings. They want the government to declare the estuary of the Cayapas-Mataje river an ecological reserve, in order to preserve its biodiversity.