Press Release: Longlining in the Galapagos

28 April 2021

As members of civil society and as a digital media outlet, we publicly express our great concern regarding the issue of longline fishing in the Galapagos; since August 2020, this technique is in the second phase of its most recent study as part of the “Evaluation of Experimental Fishing Gear for the Sustainable Capture of Large Pelagic Fish in the Galapagos Marine Reserve.”

Longlining, sometimes called “Modified Ocean Draw,” has been a matter of debate in the islands for more than 20 years; despite the multiple different studies that have been carried out, there are inconsistencies in the published data. On July 10, 2020, the CGREG circulated resolution No. 018 CGREG 07-10-202 “Plan for the Reactivation of the Province of Galapagos” while, in October 2020, the Ministry of the Environment presented the “Proposal for Economic Reactivation for the Galápagos Artisanal Fishing Sector,” consistent with the aforementioned plan.

It is striking that a figure of the end value of this economic reactivation has not been indicated, nor is a term or threshold specified for when a full reactivation will be achieved. Also absent are a baseline figure reflecting the stated economic situation, objectives, results, or expected outcomes to be achieved through the introduction of the longline technique in the Galapagos.

In 2005, in front of UNESCO, the Ecuadorian Government declared that the actions taken to preserve the Galapagos Islands and their world heritage status were the prohibition of surface longline fishing, the control of sea cucumber fishing, and the management of Italian funds so that artisanal fishermen of the region look for alternative incomes. Even with these declarations, the Galapagos Islands were included in the World Heritage “Danger List” from 2007 to 2010.

The Galapagos constitute one of the most precious natural heritage sites for humanity in the world, owing to its flora and fauna unique. Without systems and proper management, longline fishing, a historically recognized problem, will not be controlled.

We seek to extend an invitation to decision makers and the future government of Mr. Guillermo Lasso to seek a broad and transparent discussion alongside local entities and bilateral organizations in order to ensure and prioritize the conservation of the Galapagos Marine Reserve over political and short-term economic interests.

To date, the legal outline of the LOREG Fishing Regulation has not been issued. Since the previous Law was repealed in 1998, there is no effective fishing regulation, no established legal management measure or basis. Therefore, it is impossible to apply control or supervision of the technique.

The general public, as well as local organizations known for their interest in fighting in the conservation of the Galapagos Islands such as CEDENMA and PACÍFICO LIBRE, have not been invited to any forum of discussion with a government body, nor has any appearance before the biodiversity commission been formally requested.

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

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