Includes Chile: Ecuador calls for “regional stance” against Chinese ships near the Galapagos

The President of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, reported this Saturday that he has requested rapprochements with some nations from Pacific to seek a regional position in front of the threat from international fishing fleets.

He commented that the Exclusive economic zone around the Galapagos Marine Reserve “is not only one of the richest fishing areas, but also a hotbed of life, not only for Ecuador but for the entire planet, for biodiversity and food security. “

“It is precisely because of this wealth that in this area we are under immense pressure from international fishing fleets,” he said at a time when the presence of dozens of foreign ships in international waters near the Galapagos it has sparked local and international concern.

During a speech to the Navy within the framework of the 485th anniversary of the founding of Guayaquil, Moreno indicated that on July 16 the Navy had already notified of the presence of the ships.

Given this, the Chancellery already pointed out “to Chinese government, cordially but firmly, that Ecuador will prevail its maritime rights over its exclusive economic zone, without distinction of flag, “he said.

“At the same time, I have arranged for the necessary consultations to be held with the Pacific riparian States, the brother countries of Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Peru and Chile, to have a regional position on this type of threat “, said.

Ecuador Warning

Last Thursday, the Ecuadorian Minister of Defense, Oswaldo Vase, warned that foreign vessels that illegally enter the country’s territory will be seized and pointed out that the foreign fishing fleet is in international waters.

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At no time has it been violated, dabbled, penetrated or entered a ship of the international fishing fleet in the exclusive economic zone “of Ecuador, assured Vase So when noting that “many” of the ships are Chinese, although they do not know if they belong to the State or are private.

And he warned that if any ship enters “will be seized“as it happened in 2017.

Background

In August of that year, Ecuador detected a large illegal fishing fleet near the Galapagos Marine Reserve, made up of 297 ships, one of them the Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999, which was seized and which since this time you come is part of the naval squad.

With a length of 99 meters and with navigation capacity of up to sixty days, that ship was captured with 300 tons of prohibited fishing in its tanks.

According to the Ecuadorian Navy, the fleet that these days is close to the Galapagos consists of “about 260 boats, including fishing vessels, supply and storage vessels”, which have been located just “outside the limit of the exclusive economic zone” of the country.

Environmental concern

The Galapagos archipelago is made up of 13 large islands, 6 minor ones and 42 islets, and for its rich biodiversity it is considered a natural laboratory that allowed the English scientist Charles Darwin to develop his theory on the evolution and natural selection of species.

In the midst of this situation, Norman Wray, Minister President of the Galápagos Government Council, was concerned about the species in the area.

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“Heartbreaking data: Esperanza, whale shark: marked 09/2019. It stopped transmitting 05/2020. 280 days transmitting. Between ZEE and insular RMG. Chinese fleet white spots, coincidence?” He wrote on his Twitter profile.

On his side, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF, in English) in Ecuador has indicated its concern at the presence of the fishing fleet because “it represents a recurring threat to fishery resources and marine biodiversity, especially in the vicinity of the Galapagos Marine Reserve.”

So he made an appeal “urgent to the Ecuadorian State to take the necessary measures in the short, medium and long term to ensure the conservation of marine biodiversity, the sustainability of fisheries resources and the resilience of our seas. “

This fact happens in international waters, outside the limits of national jurisdiction, which makes it a complex problem that must be addressed from various fronts and at different levels, WWF-Ecuador noted in a statement.

And he stressed that in international waters no clear management or ownership policiesIn other words, the situation that Ecuador is currently facing is a geopolitical problem, which all coastal countries face worldwide.

He stressed the importance of countries cooperating to responsibly and sustainably manage a global good such as the oceans, so that they help guarantee food security and the subsistence of millions of people.

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