Ecuador prepares three multilateral actions against illegal fishing and for the conservation of marine species

Bilateral dialogue with China and regional alliances continue. For environmental organizations, there are not enough regulations or controls.

July 12, 2021 – 06h00

The Navy’s Insular Operations Command increased its patrolling due to the presence of the Chinese fleet near Galapagos. (Courtesy Armada Nacional)

Regarding the annual presence of the international fishing fleet near the Insular Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) that surrounds the Galapagos and the threat posed to marine species that transit the high seas, Ecuador is preparing to propose more actions against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in favor of the conservation of marine species in the high seas before three upcoming multilateral forums.

Given the regulations of the United Nations Convention on the Right to the Sea (Convemar – a convention which the country has been party to since 2012 – Ecuador has several international mechanisms: bilateral, regional and multilateral to make proposals on the management of fisheries and the conservation of resources within the jurisdictions of the EEZs or outside their jurisdictional waters, in international waters or the high seas.

The first forum is the 37th FAO Regional Fisheries Conference (COFI), which will be hosted by Ecuador in 2022 and will have as its central theme the fight against IUU fishing the 36th Regional Conference. At 34th Session of the Committee on Fisheries of FAO (COFI) in 2020, Ecuador sought technical support for negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on fisheries subsidies.

The second multilateral space is the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity beyond Jurisdictional Maritime Spaces (BBNJ) , whose fourth session will take place in the first half of 2022. There, the Foreign Ministry articulates the negotiation process with the ministries of Production, Environment and the Navy, and strategic positions through organizations such as the G77.

And the third space is the negotiations on fisheries subsidies in the WTO, in which Ecuador participates to reach an agreement on sanctions that eliminate the subsidies that support IUU fishing and prohibit certain forms of subsidies to fishing that contribute to the overcapacity and overfishing.

There is also the Global Alliance for the Oceans which aims to designate 30% of the oceans as protected areas by 2030, an alliance which Ecuador joined on August 11, 2020, and agreements such as the Agreement with VLIZ (Kingdom of Flanders) for marine research, exchange of information, data and experiences for the conservation of the oceans. The Agreement with DFO (Canada) to detect so-called “obscured” or “dark” vessels, and the agreement with Global Fishing Watch, as an instrument for the exercise of the Maritime Authority of Ecuador, among others.

In addition, there are other regional action bodies such as the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Organization (RFMO-PS), the Permanent Commission of the South Pacific (CPPS) and others from which Ecuador has obtained full or partial support in their initiatives to reject IUU fishing and promote the conservation of the species, between 2020 and 2021.

And at the national level, Ecuador reports on the third meeting with Chinese authorities on the actions of the international fishing fleet. In the bilateral talksChina’s base position has not changed: they point out that they are not committing any illegality, they deny the existence of IUU fishing from vessels with their flag, that they respect the EEZ and are willing to enact more controls on vessels.

Since last year, at the institutional level, the actions have been concentrated in the Interinstitutional Committee of the Sea (CIM), which was restructured in November 2020, is made up of the Chancellery that exercises the presidency and the secretariat and the ministries of Transport, Defense, Environment, Production, the Secretariats of Planning and Higher Education, Science and Technology.

In its third session, held on June 30, the CIM adopted seven resolutions, among which are resolutions that: Defense maintain permanent monitoring of vessels in the EEZ and on the high seas and that a permanent communication and coordination protocol be established to have regular and updated information on the situation of foreign fishing vessels. […]

Mauricio Gándara, former ambassador and international analyst, points out that China is a world power and with its desire to grow economically, it has more initiatives, more resources and fighting those resources “is very difficult.” One way is promoting activities in international organizations and another approach is coordination between ministries.

But it is necessary to improve the Navy equipment so that they can exercise control, and it is also necessary to acquire an oceanographic vessel and for that to occur, resources are needed. Resources are also needed to complete the studies of the extension of the maritime platform, whose term ends in 2022. In addition, to protect straddling species on the high seas, international cooperation is required. (I)


  • China – 281
  • Liberia – 1
  • Panama – 6
  • Cook Island – 1
  • Canada – 1
  • Marshall Islands – 1
  • Singapore – 1
  • Others – 2


  • Fishing – 254
  • Freighters – 9
  • Unknown – 19
  • Other Types – 4
  • Rare Type – 8
  • Reefers – 0
  • Tankers – 0
  • Oilers – 0

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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