National Assembly will determine Government Council of Galapagos’ political responsibilities for negligence regarding illegal fishing near the marine reserve

The Sovereignty Commission’s report recommends initiating a political trial of Juan DeHowwitt, the director of the Center for Strategic Intelligence

March 23, 2021 – 5:03 p.m.

GALAPAGOS. In this August 13, 2017 photo provided by the Galapagos National Park, a park ranger is seen participating in the inspection of a Chinese-flagged ship in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, where 300 tons of marine species were found, several of them in danger of extinction.

With 118 votes, the National Assembly condemned illegal fishing in the exclusive zone of continental Ecuador and Galapagos; it also asked the Galapagos Governing Council be held politically responsibilities for the negligence and that a political trial of the director of the Center for Strategic Intelligence (CIES), Juan DeHowwitt, be initiated.

The report, prepared by the Commission for Sovereignty and International Relations, included 31 recommendations; the report investigated complaints about the presence of foreign vessels in the exclusive economic zone of Galapagos. At the request of the full Assembly, the investigation began in August 2020.

The analysis conducted shows that unsustainable, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing – carried out by foreign vessels between the exclusive economic zone of mainland Ecuador and the exclusive economic zone of the Galapagos Islands, near the Galapagos marine reserve – would be threatening to endangered species and to all marine biodiversity present in the area.

The legislators recommend convening a closed plenary session of the Assembly, in order that the director of CIES, Juan DeHowwitt, can report on the threats and vulnerabilities, within the Ecuadorian State and the Armed Forces, that prevent him from carrying out an effective defense of national interests regarding the illegal fishing carried out by fishing fleets in Ecuador’s exclusive economic zone. The report highlights that the CIES representative refused to present information to the commission and therefore it is recommended to initiate a political trial for failure to perform his functions.

Disinformation Chain

The International Relations Commission, chaired by Assemblyman Fernando Flores (CREO), deduced that chains of misinformation and lack of action by the competent authorities existed, in particular with the Council of the Special Regime of Galapagos, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Environment. [This deduction was] in part due to the fact that illegal fishing actions in the determined area, close to the Galapagos Islands, have occurred before 2020.

This [illegal fishing] has occurred repeatedly for several years, yet Ecuador has not obtained effective strategies with authorities of international organizations, which could allow the country to access a strategic alliance for the conservation of resources.

For this reason, the report asks that the National Assembly assign political responsibilities for negligence to the Governing Council of the Special Regime of the Galapagos province, [namely negligence] in regard to the timely response of necessary and sufficient actions to avoid irreversible damage to the Galapagos Marine Reserve that could be caused by illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in areas surrounding the marine reserve.

Legislators recommend an urgent call to the representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility, the Ministry of the Environment and the Governing Council of the Galapagos Special Regime, in order to explain the actions that will be carried out, as well as the presentation of a comprehensive strategic plan for the conservation of the resources of Galapagos.

In addition, the president of the National Assembly is asked to summon the representative of the Agency for the Regulation and Control of Hydrocarbons before the plenary session in 15 days.

According to the resolution, the Comptroller General of the State must carry out a special examination to determine whether the corresponding authorities have correctly and effectively applied the international instruments, in order that Ecuador remain active in matters of prevention, discouragement and elimination of illegal, undeclared and unregulated fishing.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs must immediately exercise the actions of sanction and reparation against the Chinese fishing fleet under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Convemar), the Agreement on the Application of the Provisions of the Convention relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (New York Agreement) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

That the Office of the Attorney General of the State continue, out of duty and with all the rigor of the case, carry out all the investigations that may give rise regarding the presumed crime against wild flora and fauna.

The resolution requests that the Ministry of Finance allocate the necessary resources to the Armed Forces of Ecuador, in accordance with the economic reality of the country, so that the [Armed Forces] are adequate to fulfill their duty and thus safeguard the sovereignty of the Ecuadorian State. .

That the Ministry of National Defense, together with the National Navy, send the entire project and respective support for the expansion of the continental shelf to the Presidency of the National Assembly, which must contain a detailed report on the benefits of said expansion.

The Office of the Attorney General of the State must initiate a legal investigation into the actions that be taken by the Ecuadorian State in regards to the case of effects on our marine conservation, for the respective compensation must be requested immediately, and a detailed report on compliance with said actions must be presented before the plenary session of the National Assembly within a period of no more than six months. (I)

Read the original coverage from El Universo at

Informing and sharing news on marine life, flora, fauna and conservation in the Galápagos Islands since 2017
© SOS Galápagos, 2021


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