Chinese illegal fishing: Ecuador suggested creating global legislation to protect the oceans
[Ecuador] joined the “Global Alliance for the Ocean” at a time when a fleet serving Beijing is located very close to Galapagos. [The fleet has] generated worldwide concern and the reaction of the South American Government.
The Government of Ecuador suggested that the international community devise global legislation that would allow the sustainable development of fishing, address and clean plastic waste in the oceans, and create reserve zones on the high seas.
“We are very interested in protecting the oceans” and finding “ethical behaviors in the management of resources” at a global level, in order to face the effects of climate change which threatens the entire plan, the Ecuadorian Foreign Minister assured the EFE news agency, Luis Gallegos.
For this reason, Gallegos explained yesterday that his country is part of the “Global Ocean Alliance”, formed by 27 States, which seeks to preserve as a reserve at least one third of the marine surface in the next ten years, in order to avoid overfishing and in order that marine life has the opportunity adapt to climate change.
Led by the United Kingdom, this initiative has a fund of some 500 million pounds sterling (about 650 million dollars), to finance projects for the preservation of the oceans.
Ecuador will design projects to contribute to this cause, especially in the area of the Galapagos Islands, which is located about a thousand kilometers from its continental coasts and was declared a UNESCO Natural Heritage of Humanity site in since 1978.
Now, the chancellor added, the ocean is threatened by both pollution and also by illegal and indiscriminate fishing, implying new challenges for the world.
Ecuador’s adherence to the “Global Alliance for the Ocean” occurred at a time when a foreign fishing fleet, most of it under the Chinese flag, was located very close to the Galapagos Exclusive Economic Zone; [this fleet] generated concern world and the reaction of the Government of Ecuador.
The foreign vessels are located in areas of cold ocean currents that are used by many migratory pelagic species.
Climate change has also led many species to settle in cold ocean currents, such as those being used by fishing fleets and such as the cold currents near the Galapagos, Gallegos explained.
Due to global warming “a serious disaster is predicted worldwide in the coming decades” and therefore we must act together, he added.
However, the diplomat said he was aware that ” many of the powers will not agree on this issue “, but that it is an inescapable responsibility to raise protection for the seas.
” Ecuador is a country blessed ” by its great terrestrial and marine biodiversity, and its oceanic jurisdiction covers 1.03 million square kilometers of surface in the exclusive economic zones, which could reach 1.3 million square kilometers with the extensions of the marine platforms.
This is “almost five times the continental territory” of Ecuador, Gallegos said, noting that the effort made by the country to protect its sea requires global legislation that allows the creation of reserve zones on the high seas.
He recalled that his country has legislation in its Constitution that protects the rights of nature and that thanks to this, in 2017, he was able to sanction a Chinese ship that had entered the Galapagos marine reserve with fishing for sharks in danger of extinction, so the boat was seized.
In the current season, no ship from the foreign fleet stationed near the Galapagos has entered the territorial sea, also thanks to the permanent surveillance carried out by the country’s Naval Force.
The presence of foreign vessels in the vicinity of the Galapagos has occurred for around twelve years, said the foreign minister, who said that a conversation has been established with the Chinese government to try to avoid this type of problem.
The foreign minister explained that the Beijing Executive has defined periods of moratorium on fishing in the area, which will run from September to November, although Ecuador has stated that it is insufficient and that it should also be extended to between June and August.
The negotiations also discuss an agreement with China on boarding ships and verifying catches with clear protocols to avoid further setbacks.
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