First Chinese fleet ship detected near Galapagos

GONZALO SOLANO
June 30, 2021

Photo: Milko Schvartzman via Twitter

QUITO (AP) – A conservation organization alerted the Ecuadorian government about the presence near the Galapagos Islands of a Chinese boat belonging to a gigantic fishing fleet that in other years has appeared in the same area at this time.**

The spokesman for the group Frente Insular Reserva Marina de Galápagos, Alberto Andrade, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that “this ship is a preview of what is to come, it is the advance of what is going to happen, as has happened in the past. recent years, in which this gigantic Asian fleet, mainly Chinese, generates a great pressure that affects the marine wealth ”.

He pointed out that until Tuesday the vessel was 150 nautical miles south of the marine reserve and that it integrates a fleet made up of more than 300 factory ships that usually fish near the Galapagos between May and August.

The Minister of the Environment, Gustavo Manrique, assured that “we have the protocols, the fast-moving boats, we have an agreement with the Canadian government to find them when they turn off the navigation equipment so that they are not controlled … everything is under control for that those boats do not enter ”.

Since 2016, these large-draft foreign vessels have been carrying out intensive fishing tasks in the vicinity of the 200 miles that protect the Ecuadorian archipelago, declared in 1979 by UNESCO a Natural Heritage of Humanity for its unique animal and plant, land and marine species. in the world.

To protect the biodiversity of the Galapagos archipelago, the islands have a first zone of 40 miles from the most salient edge, which is called a reserve zone. Then, until you get to mile 200, there is the so-called insular exclusive economic zone. The Chinese fleet is usually located outside that perimeter in international waters.

“Marine species move between the continent and Galapagos, they move throughout the ocean, so that fleet causes serious damage to marine systems,” said Andrade.

The then Defense Minister, Oswaldo Jarrín, warned last year that a good part of the ships of that foreign fleet usually turn off their satellite location systems in order not to be detected in real time.

In 2017, a Chinese ship from a fleet located in the same area broke into exclusive waters of the archipelago and was caught with 300 tons of illegal fishing for species such as sharks. Its crew members were tried and sentenced to several years in prison.

Read the original coverage from AP at https://apnews.com/article/96fbf01b73e552de9cab0540c6383f2e


Editorial Note:

*The original announcement was made by Milko Schvartzman, though Frente Insular and an associated organization Más Galapagos subsequently reposted Schvartzman’s tracking capture of the vessel. Más Galapagos has been credited with the discovery, when the announcement was originally from Milko Schvartzman. Issues with a variation in the naming convention for the vessel were not known to Más Galapagos but were quickly clarified by Milko Schvartzman.


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

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