If there is a supply of foreign fishing fleets on the high seas by Ecuadorian vessels, it would be an ethical problem rather than a legal one.
July 31, 2020 – 08h00
For a month there has been the movement of the foreign fishing fleet from Peru to the vicinity of the exclusive economic zones of Ecuador, according to Defense Minister Oswaldo Jarrín, last Wednesday in an appearance at the Assembly’s Sovereignty Commission.
Jarrín also pointed out that no Ecuadorian vessel supplies or integrates the foreign fishing fleet that is currently in this area of both the Galapagos and the Insular Region. This after the statements of Marco García León, lawyer and representative of the international environmental organization Sea Shepherd Legal, where he indicated that within the fishing fleet of 260 boats there could be Ecuadorian boats.
In these months, the cold Humboldt current reaches the Galapagos archipelago with intensity, carrying nutrients, which causes a high congregation of species, which motivates their presence in the area.
President Lenín Moreno announced last Monday the creation of a team for the protection of the Galapagos Islands and respect for their maritime resources, which is made up of the Foreign Minister of Ecuador, Luis Gallegos, together with environmentalists Roque Sevilla and Yolanda Kakabadse. They are responsible for designing the defense strategy for the country’s maritime wealth.
El Universo was able to learn that this fishing fleet has several characteristics that transform them into true industries. In order to withstand so many times on the high seas, within the fleet ships loaded with fuel and food are destined, which in case the first one runs out they choose to go to recharge or hire tankers to supply them.
In this case, if it involved an Ecuadorian tanker, it would not represent any illegality, only if it sold it at a subsidized price and not an international one.
“The problem occurs when that ship decides to turn it off (monitoring device) or blocks it so that we do not receive the signal. The risk is that the Chinese fleet is at the limit and turns it off,” it was explained. of the area by the Navy.
A precedent was the detection of the Ecuadorian ship María del Carmen IV in 2017 when it supplied the fuel fleet that came from Panama, according to a statement from the company Oceanbat S.A. The ship was not stopped and was able to continue its work.
In addition, there are vessels in charge of the fishing, others that store it and some that are in charge of the processing to give a final product.
In that same year, but in August, a cargo ship that belonged to the Chinese fishing fleet was captured when it entered the Galapagos Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 had 300 tons of fish inside it, in mostly endangered species whose capture is prohibited.
Alberto Andrade, coordinator of the Frente Insular collective, explained that turning off the location device is one of the modes of operation of the Chinese industrial fleet. In addition, he refers that they also identified that the flag was changed in Panama.
“We think that there are still, due to logistics saving issues, we suppose, we believe that there are still vessels not only from Ecuador but from Peru, Chile, Argentina, from all these neighboring parts that leave and supply these ships … There is the legal norm, how can we do? At least recriminate him for being a traitor, “he said about whether there were any Ecuadorian ships supplying these ships, which has not yet been evidenced.
However, he stated that they presume that given the fact of 2017 they would be looking for supplies from other countries other than Ecuador, close to where they carry out their tasks.
The environmental law expert, Inés Manzano, pointed out that while leaving a port of shipment with all the regulations and authorizations there would be no problem and explained that with the precautionary principle present in the international treaties signed by Ecuador, overfishing is prohibited. , the capture of protected species, it is not allowed to use fishing gear and it is required to have an ecosystem approach.
“If you have this suspicion and you do not need scientific evidence, you can request precautionary measures. One in the short term is to cut off the fuel supply from the State that is requesting a review or has a suspicion of overfishing. You as a State can ask all the regulated in the sale of fuel tell it not for sale and you can perfectly prohibit it by this precautionary principle, “he said.
Additional steps can be taken with nearby countries to notify the concerns that are counted.
Ecuador has already expressed its discomfort and concern to China through diplomatic channels, according to Ambassador Gallegos. It was also announced that a dialogue will be held with the foreign ministers of four countries on the future projections of a common strategy.
Jarrín indicated that this year the investigation in the Carnegie submarine mountain range will conclude, whose progress is 70%, and that progress is being made in the investigation of the Cocos – Galapagos submarine mountain range to expand the Ecuadorian maritime continental shelf.