The Third Fisheries Summit ended with resounding rejection of the proposal to create a new protected area in Galapagos

The representatives of the artisanal fishermen signed an agreement with the industrialists, in Galapagos. Ricardo Zambrano

Ricardo Zambrano
January 25, 2021 – 09h33

The industrial and artisanal fishing sector rejected the proposal to create a new protected area in Galapagos, presented by the environmental collective Más Galapagos, within the framework of the Third Fisheries Summit held in Puerto Ayora on January 23 and 24.

The fishermen questioned that the environmental proposal had been presented directly to the Presidency of the Republic without being previously discussed with them.

In addition, they indicated that the creation of a new protected area would affect both industrialists and artisanal fishermen.

“We believe that controls should be increased. In addition, we believe that the studies should be carried out by state control bodies and not by private organizations such as NGOs,” said Luigi Benincasa, executive director of Atunec.

He affirmed that when the current Galapagos Marine Reserve was created, they warned that small boats would succumb as a consequence: “That class of vessels no longer exists and class 3 does not exist either. Class 4 is greatly diminished, class 5 there are only six vessels. Most are class 6 ships. If [the new marine zone] is specified, it would be harming the weakest in the chain “.

Meanwhile, artisanal fishermen announced that they will collect “physical and not electronic” signatures against the initiative.

Gabriela Cruz, president of the Federation of Fishing Cooperatives of Ecuador (Fenacopec), indicated that they agree to take care of resources and improve fishery systems, but that a new protected area is not the solution and that it would affect them.

Meanwhile, Eduardo Abudeye, provisional president of the Galápagos Artisanal Fishermen Network, pointed out that for him it was a “lack of respect” that Más Galapagos presented the proposal directly to the President of the Republic.

“When you want to negotiate with such an important sector that represents the activity directly, that is not done. They consulted us, yes, but they did not meet with us as they have assured the national and international press and published on social networks. we always show our rejection of their proposal, “he said.

He indicated that artisanal fishermen are at a disadvantage in relation to the conservation sector because “they have the economic power of the press.”

The summit was described as “historic” by industrialists and artisans because they put their differences aside to join forces and reject the creation of the protected area.

“It’s not that we were fought, but we were never united like we are now,” Abudeye said.

Spokesmen from the Más Galapagos collective were also invited to the summit to present their initiative. In fact, Eliécer Cruz, one of the leaders of the organization, formally delivered the proposal to the industrial fishing sector.

Mauricio Castrejón was in charge of explaining the proposal by the group. He pointed out that a new protected area would benefit fishermen through the spillover effect.

In addition, he stressed that it is only a proposal and that they are willing to debate it at the national level.

However, several artisanal fishermen expressed their dissatisfaction because Cruz did not stay at the question round that was held on the first day of the summit.

More Galapagos, through a statement, rejected the criticism and affirmed that Cruz delegated Castrejón to present the proposal and solve all the doubts generated in the plenary session of the summit, by the representatives of the fishing unions.

“The industrial fishing sector knew our proposal in advance, since they received the summary of the technical and scientific studies that support the expansion of the sea protection zone that surrounds Galapagos on January 18, 2021, even before the date that it was officially delivered to the Presidency of the Republic, requesting that the government analyze the information and convene the sectors to debate and reach agreements, “the document said.

Guillermo Morán, manager of the Tuna Conservation Group (Tunacons), questioned that the Más Galapagos proposal does not include studies with updated figures.

For his part, the Minister of Production, Iván Ontaneda, via Zoom, congratulated the fishermen for organizing the event. He was open to analyze and debate all the proposals left by the summit.

The event ended with the elaboration of a joint declaration with 18 points, among which stand out are: requesting the creation of the Ministry of Fisheries, requesting authorization from the corresponding authorities to use the “modified” ocean tie (type of palangre) for one year.

At the event it was decided, by vote, that the Fourth Fisheries Summit in 2022 will be held in the city of Manta.

Industrial and artisanal signed memorandum of understanding

Within the framework of the Third Fisheries Summit, held in Puerto Ayora, Galapagos, industrial and artisanal fishermen signed a memorandum of understanding for the collection of marine debris

“We have had the need to join forces, especially with the tuna boats and the WWF organization to get funds that will channel garbage collection projects, creation of ecological FADs (fish aggregating devices) and legal and technical fishing advice,” Eduardo said. Abudeye.

The idea, according to Guillermo Morán, manager of Tuna Conservation Group (Tunacons), is that the FADs of the industrial fishing fleet that involuntarily enter the Galapagos Marine Reserve are also collected.

“We know that we have to fight pollution strongly and this will help us with marine debris that is not generated by the national fleet,” he said.

The second objective is to provide technical assistance to artisanal fishermen so that they have a sustainable management system for their local fisheries that meets scientific sustainability standards. (I)

Informing and sharing news on marine life, flora, fauna and conservation in the Galápagos Islands since 2017
© SOS Galápagos, 2021

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