Ecuador and China talk about illegal fishing and protection of the Galapagos Islands
Quito, Dec 29 (EFE) – Authorities of Ecuador and China held a virtual meeting on Tuesday in which they discussed the activity of international fishing fleets in the area adjacent to the Insular Exclusive Economic Zone (ZEEI) of the Ecuadorian Galapagos Islands.
The meeting is a continuation of the bilateral dialogue between the two countries that started last August, when Ecuador expressed its concern about the presence of a large fishing fleet, composed of a majority of Chinese-flagged vessels, very close to the ZEEI.
During the talks, Ecuadorian representatives highlighted the actions carried out in regional and multilateral forums, aimed at strengthening the global commitment to the protection of the environment and, especially, marine resources.
Likewise, the Ecuadorian delegation highlighted the application of strict surveillance and control measures for fishing fleets that carry out their tasks near the Ecuadorian border area, the Foreign Ministry in Quito indicated in a statement.
Ecuador made it clear in the bilateral dialogue that the conservation of the Galapagos Islands and their unique ecosystems on the planet are a “shared responsibility” by the international community and invited China to cooperate with this common objective.
Ecuadorian representatives also referred to the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, on December 25, when it reiterated the commitment to take strong measures against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, within a voluntary and unilateral moratorium on fishing on the high seas in the southeast Pacific and Southwest Atlantic.
The meeting also reviewed the statement of the foreign ministers of the Permanent Commission of the South Pacific (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile), on their concern about illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities in the region and the actions taken to reduce that threat.
Ecuador also announced that it will present at the meeting of the South Pacific Fisheries Management Organization (OROP-PS), next January, some proposals aimed at discouraging so-called “distant fishing activities.”
The Ecuadorian government seeks diplomatic support in that forum, of which China is also a part, to carry out its suggestions, the Foreign Ministry added in its statement.
In the virtual meeting with Chinese representatives, Ecuador demonstrated its intention to develop the capture of giant squid, as an alternative to current fishing activities and to take advantage of the abundance and proximity of that resource to national coasts.
The Ecuadorian delegation that participated in the virtual meeting was composed of representatives of the Foreign Ministry, the Vice Ministry of Aquaculture and Fisheries, and the Directorate of Aquatic Spaces of the Navy.
The Chinese delegation was composed of representatives of the Fisheries Bureau of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Overseas Fisheries Association of China.
The representatives of the Asian giant reiterated China’s willingness to maintain control over its vessels to ensure that they do not engage in illegal unreported and unregulated fishing activities.
The Overseas Fisheries Association of China has registered more than 1,600 offshore fishing vessels.
Last August, the presence of the foreign fishing fleet, with more than 320 vessels, ignited the alerts in Ecuador and in the region, due to the proximity of the vessels to the ZEEI.
The Ecuadorian Navy established a surveillance plan for the foreign fleet with the use of technological means and aeromaritime observation to prevent their entry into the Galapagos Exclusive Zone.
In 2017, a Chinese vessel from a fishing fleet that was then carrying out capture tasks in that region was confiscated and its crew arrested for having en
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