Before December, a marine corridor could be created to protect Galapagos species from the Chinese fleet and other foreign states

July 30, 2020 – 10:00 am

The public-private commission that formed the Presidency of the Republic to seek strategies for the protection of Galapagos species works on several fronts.

Image of a monitored whale shark, a species that migrates through the area of influence of the Galapagos Islands. Photo: Courtesy El Universo

The Foreign Ministry is in charge of promoting a regional pronouncement in response to the presence of the Chinese fleet. While the conservationists Yolanda Kakabadse and Roque Sevilla direct technical preservation actions.

Creation of multinational corridor

The conservationist Yolanda Kakabadse, who was summoned by the Presidency of the Republic to be a member of this commission, told EL UNIVERSO that the talks with Colombia, Panama and Costa Rica are advanced and believes that before December of this year the multinational maritime corridor to protect marine species, such as sharks and whales, that inhabit and migrate from the Galapagos archipelago to Isla del Coco (Costa Rica). This area would become a large reserve.

“At this moment each one of these protected areas is independent and between them there are international seas. Then, once this corridor can be protected, this protection area is obviously expanded and fishing vessels cannot pass through there,” explained the former environmental minister.On the other hand, Kakabadse indicated that they should work together with sectors related to fishing to create awareness about the sustainable consumption of resources, but in the permitted areas.

“Where accepted fishing gear is used, where the maximum that can be caught and the type of fish that can be obtained in the different seas and at what times are defined,” she proposes.

For that, she adds, communication channels will be established with fishing associations, national and foreign environmental organizations, and academia.

Plan to extend right to the sea floor

The conservationist Roque Sevilla comments that a group of experts is formed, who will support the issue of the preservation of species and the ecosystem.

The commission’s plans also focus, says Sevilla, on the possibility of extending the number of miles of ocean floor (marine platform) that belongs to Ecuador.

“Coordinate with the National Navy to complete the mapping of the seabed of the mountain range that goes from the Galapagos to the mainland. The intention of this is to achieve the expansion of the seabed from both sides, because there is how to extend it instead of 200 miles to 350 miles, according to the Convemar (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea), “explains the former mayor of Quito.

Seville clarifies that Ecuador would win rights over the sea floor, but not over the water column.

“It serves two things, one is for mining, if it is done for a while; and the second is that after having the base of the land we can justify that it would be important to protect the water column because there is migration of fish” says the conservationist, who states that this second point is not yet included in international legislation, but that it would be important to consider it due to any changes in future regulations.

Another strategy that could be promoted, says Sevilla, but from the diplomatic sphere would be an agreement that is signed between the countries of the region not to supply supplies to fleets that are not inspected or regulated.

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