Ecuadorian Navy Continues to Monitor the Chinese Fishing Fleet That Stalks the Galápagos Islands

The Minister of Defense, Oswaldo Jarrín, explained that the monitoring foresees a stage of “anticipation”, to note their movements and destination, another of “forecast” or protection of the exclusive economic zone and a last one of “reaction”

Photograph of a large Chinese fishing boat during an overflight by the Ecuadorian Navy in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Galapagos Islands (ZEEI). EFE / Marcos Pin

August 19, 2020

The Ecuadorian Naval Force maintains permanent surveillance over a large foreign fishing fleet, predominantly Chinese, which does its work in the vicinity of the Exclusive Economic Zone that surrounds the Galapagos Islands (ZEEI).

This was remarked on Tuesday by the Ecuadorian Minister of Defense, Oswaldo Jarrín, in a press conference in which he mentioned that the fishing fleet, which was right on the edge of the ZEEI, has moved west.

Jarrín mentioned that the Navy has established three phases in the process of surveillance of the foreign fleet that includes a stage of “anticipation”, to note its movements and destination, another of “forecast” or protection of the ZEEI and a last of ” reaction ”, when any violation of sovereignty is detected.

At the moment, the Naval Force is in the second stage of foresight and, for now, “there has been no violation” of maritime sovereignty, since “no ship or fishing vessel has entered” in the Exclusive Zone of the Galapagos , remarked the minister.

The Defense Minister of Ecuador, General Oswaldo Jarrin (Center), the Commander General of the Ecuadorian Navy, Rear Admiral Darwin Jarrin (Left) and the Commander of Naval Operations of Ecuador, Rear Admiral Daniel Ginez, hold a press conference on a Chinese fishing fleet currently operating in the waters near the Galapagos Islands, in Guayaquil, Ecuador, August 18, 2020. REUTERS / Segundo Mendez

He recalled that for a month the fleet has been “monitored” for its “presence and approach” to the Ecuadorian sea, from near the oceanic border between Chile and Peru on its way north.Jarrín specified that the area where the foreign fleet fishes is outside the jurisdiction of Ecuador, although this does not mean that surveillance of that conglomerate of more or less 325 boats is maintained.

Monitoring or surveillance, through associated systems that include technological means and maritime observation, specifies what type of activities the fleet carries out and what its movements are.

It is about observing, “not only the displacement but the type of fishing” carried out by the fleet, said the minister, noting that it has been detected that these boats follow the cold Humboldt current, for the fishing of giant squid, although tuna fishing cannot be ruled out.

Illustrative file photo of a blue heron on Isabela Island, in Ecuador’s Galapagos National Park (REUTERS / Nacho Doce)

Surveillance has also made it possible to detect possible violations by foreign ships, especially the suspension of location devices on the high seas, which must be reported to the international maritime authority.

The Government of Ecuador has suggested to the international community to devise a global legislation that allows the sustainable development of fishing, care for and clean the oceans of plastic waste and create reserve areas on the high seas.

With this objective, Ecuador recently joined the “Global Alliance for the Ocean”, at a time when the foreign fishing fleet was very close to the Galapagos Exclusive Economic Zone.

The Ecuadorian Foreign Minister, Luis Gallegos, said recently that in the presence of foreign vessels, most of them Chinese, in the vicinity of the Galapagos, he had held talks with the Government of Beijing.

And he explained that China has defined periods of fishing moratorium in the area where its fleet fishes, which will go from September to November, although Ecuador has stated that it is insufficient and that it should also extend to between June and August.

The negotiations also discuss an agreement with China on boarding ships and fishing verification, with clear protocols to avoid further setbacks.

In 2017, a Chinese boat belonging to another fishing fleet was confiscated, and its crew arrested, for having entered the Galapagos marine reserve with a large load of fishing for several species of sharks in danger of extinction.(With information from EFE)

Read in full via InfoBae at: Islands/

Informing and sharing news on marine life, flora, fauna and conservation in the Galápagos Islands since 2017
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