Fishing fleets: Ecuador could conclude the investigation to expand a continental shelf this year

Map of maritime areas that would allow covering the extension of the continental shelf. Courtesy

July 27, 2020 – 6:02 p.m.

Quito – This afternoon, the Minister of Defense, Oswaldo Jarrín, assures that this year the investigation into the Carnegie submarine mountain range will conclude and that progress is being made in the investigation of the Cocos – Galapagos submarine mountain range to expand the continental maritime platform of Ecuador to 350 miles nautical and thus avoid the presence of foreign fishing fleets in the corridor of international waters, located between the exclusive insular and continental economic zones.

Jarrín reported that the oceanographic investigation of the Carnegie Range (linking the continent with the Galapagos Islands) is 70% advanced (with 156 trips) and this year it is concluded and the investigation of the other, although to a lesser extent, is also progressing ( 46 days in coordination with Costa Rica).

It has not been concluded due to the conditions of the Orion oceanographic vessel and the change to the Centauro vessel has to be proceeded, although the budgetary feasibility and deadlines in the Ministry of Economy and Finance are unknown, added the Defense Minister.

Continental platform

The 350 miles of the continental shelf are recognized by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Convemar), of which Ecuador has been a party since 2012. The member countries of this international instrument have ten years to request this extension from adherence to the Convention, after the scientific study of a Committee. Eight years have passed and there are two years left for Ecuador to do so

Foreign Minister Luis Gallegos added that it is not that in these eight years nothing has been done, “they have been working intensely” to achieve it, he assured and they hope to present the report with the necessary reports in agreement with Costa Rica for the extension of the platform until December.On Wednesday there will be a meeting of the countries of the South Pacific to discuss various issues, including the crossing of foreign fishing fleets.

Íñigo Salvador, state attorney, added that only if the diplomatic channels used to solve this impasse do not yield positive results, will international law actions be taken.

China has said that it does not accept the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice and that is not a mechanism that Ecuador can follow and the mechanism that would remain is arbitration, but only if there is a violation of Ecuadorian waters.

The foreign fishing fleet that at this moment is in international waters in front of the exclusive economic zones of Ecuador, has vessels with Chinese flag, but also from Liberia, Panama and others.

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