South American states join forces against Chinese fishing threat
News Desk Agence France-Presse
Santiago, Chile / Thu, November 5, 2020 / 07:24 am
A Galapagos brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis urinator) is seen in Puerto Ayora, Galapagos Archipelago, in the Pacific Ocean, 1000 km off the coast of Ecuador, on Feb.13, 2019. (AFP/Rodrigo Buendia)
Four South American countries joined forces Wednesday in a bid to combat illegal fishing by huge Chinese fleets off their coasts.
Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru threatened measures “to prevent, discourage and jointly confront” illegal fishing near their exclusive economic zones in the Pacific.
The joint statement made no specific mention of China but environmental groups Greenpeace and Oceana have repeatedly warned of the growing presence of massive Chinese fishing fleets in the area.
The South American quartet said they would boost “cooperation and real-time exchange of information” to highlight illegal fishing off their coasts.
Ecuador in July complained to China over a massive 300-trawler fishing fleet off Galapagos, saying around half of them had turned off their tracking systems so they couldn’t be located.
Beijing in early August banned its vessels from fishing near the Galapagos from September to November this year.
The Chinese fleet instead headed south through international waters to fish near the exclusive economic zones of Peru and Chile, according to NGO Oceana.
Oceana has accused the Chinese of “pillaging” the waters off the Galapagos, primarily for squid, thereby depriving some species in the waters of the protected archipelago – including fur seals and hammerhead sharks – of their essential diet.
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