JANUARY 2020 JANUARY 4Five defendants added in court case related to past theft of more than 100 tortoises from the Galapagos National Park. The crime was originally occurred on September 24, 2018. Read more about the 2018 theft via Mongabay Latam here A week-old Galápagos tortoise. Image by Peder Toftegaard Olsen via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0).Tortoises at … Continue reading 2020 in Review: Community and Local Updates in the Galápagos Islands
JANUARY 2020 JANUARY 10Diego, the Galapagos 'sex symbol' turtle who saved his species, will return home Diego, who is over one hundred years old, will return to his island of origin almost 8 decades after being extracted. During the last years it has become a symbol of the conservation of Galapagos. JANUARY 11Work begins to refloat … Continue reading 2020 in Review: Expanded Coverage and Updates from the Galápagos Islands
Jump to the month of July for coverage of the 2020 arrival of the foreign distant-water fishing fleet near the outskirts of Ecuador's Insular EEZ, which surround the Galápagos Marine Reserve. JANUARY 2020 JANUARY 4Five defendants added in court case related to past theft of more than 100 tortoises from the Galapagos National Park. The … Continue reading 2020 in Review: Breaking News and Top Updates in the Galápagos Islands
The foreign fishing fleet returns to approach Galapagos; since December it was detected towards the northwest of the Archipelago Defense Minister Oswaldo Jarrín shows a satellite photograph that confirms, once again, the presence of the foreign fishing fleet, since December 7, 2020. Screenshot. Gladys Rivadeneira Quito - This afternoon, the Minister of Defense, Oswaldo Jarrín, reported that … Continue reading The foreign fishing fleet returns to approach Galapagos; since December it was detected towards the northwest of the Archipelago
Check out our interactive timeline and review news, videos, research findings and updates from the Galapagos Islands in 2020 Want to learn more about the foreign distant-water fishing fleet near the outskirts of Ecuador's Insular EEZ, which surround the Galápagos Marine Reserve? Jump ahead to July 2020 Navigate between months using the hyperlinks at the bottom of each month’s timeline.
The only assembly member who defended the proposal in plenary was Alexandra Ramón, the remaining thirteen interventions by assembly members from different legislative benches rejected the intention to amend the Constitution so that the director of the Galapagos Governing Council is determined by a popular election. In the end, Assemblyman Fabricio Villamar proposed the archiving of the proposal, which had been worked by the Amendments Committee in a report for initial debate and presented by another Galapagos Assemblyman, Washington Paredes. The president of that roundtable committe, Elizabeth Cabezas joined the possibility of archiving. During the debate, Marcela Aguiñaga said that the amendment would be creating a problem of governance in the Archipelago, and that, to think of a popularly elected position for a small population, would cause chaos in the governance of Galapagos. Gabriela Larreátegui said that she would be electing a president parallel to the President of the Republic and the latter would not have the right to opinion, and that we should not give way to the political interests behind this. Fernando Callejas added that this would be giving all-encompassing power to the Governing Council of Galapagos. Assembly members like Rodrigo Collaguazo proposed an alternative reform so that the director appointed to the Governing Council is from Galapagos or has lived in recent years in the Archipelago, but would not be appointed by popular election. The procedure returns to the Assembly's Committee on Amendments. The project has a favorable report from the Constitutional Court.
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 entered the Galapagos marine reserve with a large fishing load of several species of sharks in danger of extinction.
Possible implementation of the unified oceanic tie (type of longline) in the Galapagos raises questions There are photos of sea lions hooked with hooks that circulate on social networks, but the Ministry of the Environment affirms that it cannot be guaranteed that it is the product of longlines. Courtesy December 23, 2020 - 06h00 To alleviate the current economic crisis that was deepened by the pandemic, part of the artisanal fishing sector of Galapagos asked the country's environmental authorities to continue with the studies and analyze the implementation of the unified ocean tie (EOU) in the archipelago. This surface longline type fishing system (a line with several hooks), was part of a fishing gear research project led by the Public Institute for Aquaculture and Fisheries Research (IPIAP), approved by the Government Council of Galapagos and supervised by the National Park Directorate in 2016, and its first phase was completed. The project studied the level of incidental fishing of two gears: Depth Ocean Tie (EOP) and the EOU, with the primary difference being the depth at which the gear operates, considering the hypothesis that deeper leads to less incidence of non-target species. However, the results showed that the EOP had an incidence of 8.5% and the EOU of 5.2%, which is why the latter was recommended by the IPIAP to continue with its study, indicates the Ministry of the Environment and Water ( MAAE). According to the MAAE, the use of the EOU would allow fishermen to catch better quality fish to access better marketing options and higher economic income. "This well-regulated gear represents a benefit for the management of the marine reserve's fishing resources, because it would decongest the coasts, releasing the pressure on resources such as lobster, shrimp, sea cucumber, brujo and camotillo," says the entity. However, César Peñaherrera, PhD in Marine Sciences and coordinator of Migramar, affirms that the approval of the use of the EOU would have serious consequences for iconic species of the islands. It indicates that the proposal for the use of this gear was already known several years ago, although the idea was to carry one or two hooks, but then the number was increased and it became "a longline", increasing the conflict with non-target species. "When you have 40 hooks you can't constantly check the line to prevent species like turtles, sharks, birds, sea lions from falling victim," he says. On December 21, in Puerto Egas, Galapagos, a sea lion was observed with a hook in its mouth. Photo: Courtesy In addition, he questions the percentage of bycatch handled by the MAAE with respect to the EOU: “In pristine areas like Galapagos, there is going to be a fairly high bycatch. The studies that have been carried out so far are not in depth." Although the MAAE states that "there is no parameter" to determine what percentage of incidental fishing can be considered high, medium or low, and "less within a protected area with a marine reserve with different uses". Peñaherrera also affirms that the argument of the economic crisis cannot be used, since the approval of the EOU is a request that has existed for several years: “There are 1,200 (artisan) fishermen registered in Galapagos, but only 50% are active . Fishing in the economic part is not so important. We are not saying that fisheries development is not supported, but the costs must be measured ”. If the pressure inside the reserve increases, according to Peñaherrera, something similar to that of the sea cucumber could happen: "The fisherman pushed so much for the resource, aggressively many times, that the population collapsed." For the implementation of the EOU, the second phase of the 2016 project needs to be completed, which is pending. In this stage, the use of low gear consists of a control methodology that would analyze not only the biological benefits of the use, but also the socioeconomic one. But Peñaherrera says that longline is already being used, illegally, within the reserve. In fact, there are photos of sea lions hooked with hooks circulating on social networks. "It is true that we have found sea lions with hooks, but we cannot affirm that it is longline, because there is gear allowed within the reserve that uses that type of hook and nylon," says MAAE. However, he affirms that his technical staff have found longlines adrift and within artisanal fishing vessels. “It is not that common, but they have been found. The gear is retained and the administrative processes are started."
Government of Ecuador assures that Chinese company has not submitted a request to build pelagic fishing base Fishing sectors in Manta have objected to the presence of the Chinese fleet fishing near the Galapagos reserve area. Photo taken from Puerto de Manta. December 22, 2020 - 06:07 AM After learning that the China Ocean Group Development company has supposed plans to build a fishing base on the high seas, the Ecuadorian government went on to specify that the firm has not presented an investment project proposal. The government's reaction came through the Ministry of Production after the Sea Food Source portal published that that Chinese company signed an agreement to build a fishing base in Ecuador despite tensions between the two countries due to the presence of a Chinese fleet nearby. from the Galapagos reserve. "China Ocean Group Development has not submitted an investment project proposal," said Iván Ontaneda, Minister of Production. That State portfolio added that there are no official requests regarding the intention of that company to build a fishing base on the high seas. According to the Sea Food Source web portal, China Ocean Group Development Co. signed a memorandum of understanding to build a pelagic fishing base in Ecuador. The website reports that Paúl Peñaherrera, Ecuador's commercial counselor in Guangzhou, was at the meeting where this investment was announced. This newspaper wrote to Peñaherrera through his Twitter account, but there was no response. The official retweeted hours before Minister Ontaneda's pronouncement. The Ministry of Production recalled that, in accordance with the Organic Code of Production, projects must be exposed to the Strategic Committee for the Promotion and Attraction of Investment for evaluation and feasibility analysis and communicated to the regulatory authorities. "When contemplating aspects of the fishing sector in Ecuador, the proposal must be reviewed by the fishing regulatory entity in the country, in order to provide specific information and confirm compliance with current regulations and regulations," said the Ministry of Production. Several environmental defenders and unions expressed concern about the alleged interest of that Chinese company in building a pelagic fishing base in Ecuador. The presence of a huge Chinese fleet fishing near the Galapagos reserve has raised concern in recent years about the predatory effect it generates in the archipelago. Roque Sevilla, a tourist entrepreneur with businesses in Galapagos, was one of those who asked the national authorities for explanations in the face of the apparent presence of an Ecuadorian official at the ceremony in which the investment was announced. The Vice Ministry of Aquaculture and Fisheries spoke of the need for permits before approving operations. Bernardo Hidalgo, vice minister of that entity, assured that to carry out the fishing activity in jurisdictional waters, the authorization of the Undersecretariat of Fishing Resources is required after a report from the Aquaculture and Fisheries Research Institute in which it is confirmed that the activity will not affect the resources. Currently, the governing body for fisheries has decided to establish a moratorium on increasing the fleet and storage capacity in some fisheries in Ecuador.
Travel Weekly: Galapagos Relief Effort by Lindblad Expeditions and Island Conservation By Johanna Jainchill Dec 17, 2020 An excursion leaves Lindblad Expedition's National Geographic Endeavour II in the Galapagos. Photo Credit: Ralph Lee Hopkins Lindblad Expeditions and Island Conservation have launched the Galapagos Island Relief Fund to provide financial assistance for island residents, 80% of who depend on tourism and … Continue reading Travel Weekly: Galapagos Relief Effort by Lindblad Expeditions and Island Conservation