Assembly report denounces lack of action of the authorities on illegal fishing in Galapagos

Wednesday, March 24, 2021 – 08:51

Report reveals that Galapagos is no longer one of the largest marine reserves in the world.Report reveals that Galapagos is no longer one of the largest marine reserves in the world.

With 118 affirmative votes, the Plenary approved the report of the Commission of Sovereignty, Integration, International Relations and Integral Security, on the fulfillment of the Resolution by which the Assembly condemned the illegal fishing of the marine biodiversity of Galapagos and the world, adopted on August 4, 2020. 

Said report will be sent to the control bodies, public and private institutions related to this matter, in order to consider the 33 conclusions and 31 recommendations made by the Commission in order to correct the actions of the authorities dedicated to the regulation and control of the illegal fishing. 

In one of its recommendations, the Commission proposes that the document be sent to the Oversight Commission to initiate political control actions against the Director General of the Center for Strategic Intelligence, who would have systematically prevented the delivery of relevant information for that matter. 

Previously, the legislators heard from César Peñaherrera, representative of the Migramar Foundation, who stressed that illegal fishing and overfishing affect marine resources, a situation which puts the sustainability of the fishing sector at the national level at risk. The more than 40 thousand families that make a living from this activity see their development possibilities diminished, he emphasized.

Many species of sharks and rays have a critical problem – they are declining. Some of them are no longer seen on the Ecuadorian coast, but in the Galapagos and with a reduced number. If we allow unregulated fishing to exist, many of the marine resources will disappear, he added, demanding the adoption of measures to control the illegal fishery. 

On her side, María Cristina Cely, director of One Health Ecuador, assured that Galapagos ceased to be one of the largest marine reserves in the world, since today it is among the 30 most important, when decades ago it was part of the top 10. She explained that illegal fishing refers to the prohibited fishing activity on the high seas, which is carried out outside the national and international legal framework using ghost vessels, which turn off their instruments so as not to be detected by the radars. 

Also, [it is alleged that there are] boats that have crews without documents, do not have the permits required by law, have altered identification or use prohibited fishing gear – such as longlines – carry out illegal fishing. And, most importantly, illegal fishing does not have a flag or nationality [it flies under] and affects maritime resources, all of which demand urgent measures to monitor and prevent these practices. 

Meanwhile, Fernando Flores, rapporteur for the report, added that the report recommends opening a dialogue with the Chinese authorities to solve this problem. 

He indicated that the organization received the appearance of 15 representatives of government bodies, as well as organizations related to the fishing sector, non-governmental organizations and diplomatic representatives of China to analyze this issue in depth and seek possible solutions. 

The Commission, among other aspects, concludes that unsustainable, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing carried out by foreign vessels between the exclusive economic zone of mainland Ecuador and the exclusive economic zone of the Galapagos Islands, would threaten species in danger of extinction. and of all the marine biodiversity present in the area. 

Likewise, there were chains of disinformation and lack of action by the authorities, such as the Council of the Special Regime of Galapagos, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Environment, since illegal fishing actions in the area near the Galapagos Islands have not only occurred in 2020, but on a recurring basis. 

The roundtable recognizes that the actions developed by the National Navy of Ecuador have been framed in the current legal regulations and in regional international cooperation that allowed the capture of the Chinese Ship in 2017 and determined the approach of the fishing fleet in 2020. However, the surveillance, inspection, protection and detention activities to be carried out by the entity cannot be rigorously fulfilled due to the lack of budgetary items.

Read the original coverage from Vistazo at

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