National Assembly Condemns Illegal Chinese Fishing Near Galápagos

National Assembly condemns illegal Chinese fishing near Galapagos

Work will be done on a project to expand the Galapagos marine reserve to 188 nautical miles past the current extension

Main Points:

  • The National Assembly of Ecuador condemns illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, even if not within Ecuador’s EEZ
  • Condemns delayed diplomatic and political action by appropriate Ecuadorian authorities
  • Condemns lack of protocols to enforce marine conservation aspect of 2008 Ecuadorian Constitution, UNCLOS and other international instruments.
  • Initiates immediate investigations into alleged IUU actions and how fuel is being supplied; calls for expanded surveillance and monitoring
  • Interested in expanding the marine protected area back to 188 nautical miles past current protections
  • Legislature will review research and studies surrounding expanded protections for Colón, Cocos and Carnegie underwater platforms
  • The assembly calls for updated regulatory framework in matters outside of national jurisdictions; propose that this could serve as reference for sustainable practices and sanctions for other nations, both regionally and abroad
  • Calls for regional cooperation and drafting of a framework law through Andean Parliament
  • A report on compliance with this resolution must be prepared within 45 days and presented to the plenary session

Updated 08/04/2020 21:07

The plenary session of the National Assembly approved a draft resolution, with 126 votes in favor and two abstentions. 

[The draft resolution] condemns the unsustainable, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing carried out by foreign vessels between the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of continental Ecuador and the EEZ of the Galapagos Islands near the Galapagos Marine Reserve, which would be attacking endangered species and all the marine biodiversity present in the area. 

In addition, it condemns the belated diplomatic and political action in investigating the presence of foreign vessels near the Galapagos Marine Reserve by the corresponding authorities of Ecuador. It condemns the lack of procedures to determine whether marine conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity are being carried out, in respect to the principles of marine conservation considered in the 2008 Constitution, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and other international instruments.

Immediately and as a priority, [the assembly] requests that the corresponding authorities, in particular the Ecuadorian Navy, the Prosecutor’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office, initiate investigations to determine if IUU fishing practices have been carried out by foreign vessels, in particular, practices which threaten the marine species that are found near the EEZ and the Galapagos Marine Reserve. [These authorities] shall inform this National Assembly about the results of said investigations, as well as the results of the judicial and administrative measures and processes initiated according to Ecuadorian and International Law.

As a priority, the assembly also requests that Minister of Defense Oswaldo Jarrín refer all studies and research to the presidency of the Assembly, so that it is distributed among the assembly members. [This request] includes all studies and research that have been carried out to support the expansion of both the platform of the Continental Ecuador and the insular platform of the Galapagos Islands beyond 200 nautical miles, as well as research surrounding the expansion of the Colón, Cocos and Carnegie underwater platforms.

The assembly urges the President of the Republic, Lenin Moreno, to lead the force for a new international treaty or agreement through his representatives. [This treaty of agreement] could serve as an updated regulatory framework for countries regionally and worldwide, in respect to marine conservation outside of mere national jurisdiction and enforcement, and [provide] mandatory sustainable practices for fishing and their respective sanctions.

Likewise, [the assembly asks] that the Head of State promote a dialogue and negotiation table with the sister country China through the Ministry of International Relations, in order to immediately stop the unsustainable fishing that is taking place near the edge of the Exclusive Economic Zone and of the Galapagos Marine Reserve and in order that the fishing fleet in the area is withdrawn.

#PlenoVirtual At the discretion of the legislator @CesarRohon, the United Nations must intervene as an international body that watches over marine life and go out to defend the Galapagos Islands. Resolution #PescaIlegal

The [assembly] suggest[s] that the Andean Parliament draft a framework law for regional cooperation between Colombia, Peru and Ecuador in order to protect the marine corridor and prevent the penetration of foreign vessels that do not have the respective permits for sustainable fishing.

The [assembly] demands that the Executive, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Attorney General’s Office in particular, to initiate immediate actions to ensure compliance with the regulations established in the Agreement on the application of the provisions of the Convemar. [The assembly] also demands these officials immediately reach an agreement on measures that are compatible with conservation and compatible with the management of highly migratory fish stocks and fishing stocks that straddle the EEZ of Ecuador along the high seas. 

The Agency for the Regulation and Control of Hydrocarbons are to deliver a report to the Assembly regarding which vessels are supplying fuel to the fleet of Chinese vessels that is located near the EEZ.

The full Legislature is ordered to analyze the expansion of the Galapagos marine reserve to 188 nautical miles past the current extension, in order to turn it into a buffer zone and thus avoid the entry of large fishing fleets, as well as hinder the incursion of small ships coming from within mother ships which are undetectable by radars.

The International Relations Commission must monitor compliance with this resolution and prepare a report within 45 days to present to the plenary session. 

Within this process, the body must convene the aquaculture and fishing authority so that it may report, within the framework of its powers, on the actions that are being taken to enact protocols and regulations provided in the Ecuadorian regulation. To the Chancellor,  to report on the approaches with the countries whose vessels are carrying out fishing activities in the Exclusive Economic Zone, [and to report] on what actions have been taken to restrict this type of activity; and [to report] on details of the progress made to expand the Colón, Cocos and Carnegie submarine platforms.

Meanwhile, that the Minister of Defense and the National Navy indicate, within the framework of their powers, on the actions taken to intensify the work of control and surveillance of fishing activities that are being carried out by foreign fleets located in the EEZ as well as report on what future actions will be taken to prevent this type of activities that put the marine fauna of the Galapagos Islands at serious risk from continuing to occur.

Read the entire article from Expreso EC at: bit.ly/0804expreso


Informing and sharing news on marine life, flora, fauna and conservation in the Galápagos Islands since 2017
© SOS Galápagos, 2020

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