Environmental organization requests the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry to control the international fishing fleet

Cedenma assures that indiscriminate fishing is causing serious environmental damage to the Galapagos archipelago

Sofia Belandria
7 July 2021

The Coordinator of Organizations for the Defense of Nature (Cedenma) filed an administrative claim with the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry against the presence of a foreign fishing fleet in the limit of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Galapagos Archipelago.

“We are complaining about the lack of action on the part of the State to control the international fishing fleet. The State has not complied with its control obligations,” said the President of Cedenma, Gustavo Redín, in an interview.

@CEDENMA gave @MMontalvoEC of @CancilleriaEc formal request for action to be taken against serious environmental damage by #pesca systematic, indiscriminate and #ilegal by foreign fleets in the areas adjacent to the sea of 🇪🇨 and #Galapagos pic .twitter.com / rsxrynS8fS

BitacoraAmbiental (@BitacoraEc), July 5, 2021

Every year, since 2017, a large industrial fishing fleet has reached the waters of the Ecuadorian Galapagos Archipelago, which is made up of mostly Chinese-flagged vessels, and they come to the Archipelago to fish for giant squid, a highly valued marine species in the United States. Asian markets.*

Environmentalists claim that they also fish for other species, including those prohibited in the waters of the archipelago, in which the English scientist Charles Darwin developed his theory of species evolution.

The fleet remains in waters adjacent to the Galapagos Marine Reserve between June and September. Last year the fleet consisted of around 340 vessels.

In the Galapagos marine reserve, industrial fishing is totally prohibited and in the EEZ, only national flag vessels can fish.

Scientists and environmentalists argue that the annual arrival of the fleet endangers the island’s own species and migratory species, several of them on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, because they are in danger of disappearing, among them the hammerhead shark and some species of unique Galapagos tortoises.

Environmental groups, including Cedenma, state that among the fishing gear of this fleet, longlines are used, which catch species incidentally, and also state-of-the-art technology that attracts species outside the marine reserve and others that leave the EEZ to migrate to other areas in the Eastern Tropical Pacific.

According to Redín, Ecuador can apply international agreements to make controls that prevent both bycatch and poaching, such as what happened in 2017 when a Chinese-flagged ship was caught in the Galapagos Marine Reserve carrying 300 tons of sharks, including scalloped hammerhead sharks and silky sharks.

Response in 30 days

Redín explained that at the moment there are no data on the volumes of giant squid fishing in the waters adjacent to Galapagos, but that its capture is known to generate problems with biomass and in the long run generates problems with other protected species.

“Although there is no very strict regulation regarding the giant squid, the Ecuadorian State could generate it; It is possible that there is overfishing that affects rights over biodiversity, food sovereignty and sovereignty in general. We cannot petition China, but we can petition the Ecuadorian State to do so,” Redín points out.

In addition to the fleet, on the high seas, there are boats that receive fishing and Redín believes that they could be receiving illegal fishing.

Cedenma works together with organizations in Argentina on illegal fishing by part of the same fleet in that country.

The Foreign Ministry has 30 working days to respond to the request of Cedenma, an organization that also analyzes taking other types of actions to avoid affecting the species of the Galapagos Archipelago.

Courtesy of Sputnik. Read the original coveragge from El Ciudadano at https://www.elciudadano.com/actualidad/organizacion-ambientalista-solicita-a-la-cancilleria-de-ecuador-control-de-la-flota-pesquera-internacional/07/06/

Editorial Note:

*The international fleet fishes on the outskirts of the Ecuadorian EEZ, which surrounds the Galapagos Archipelago and is 160 nm away from the Galapagos Islands. Individual vessels have been previously caught or suspected of entering the EEZ, but the fleet itself primarily operates in the high seas outside marine areas where Ecuador has sovereign control of their national waters.


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

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