China’s proposed mechanism to combat illegal fishing as joint effort with Ecuador

Date: September 5, 2017

Source & Author: FIS

The Chinese government is willing to set up an intergovernmental communication and cooperation mechanism with Ecuador to protect marine flora and fauna and combat illegal fishing, said Zhang Xianliang, director general of fisheries and fisheries administration at the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture.

“The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture is ready to establish intergovernmental communication mechanisms with the relevant departments of the fishing sector of Ecuador with the aim of exchanging information on the subject and jointly protecting marine fauna and flora resources and pursuing illegal fishing activities,” Zhang said in an interview with Andes.

He also pointed out that the Asian country’s government respects all the laws and regulations of Ecuador in the fisheries sector. Therefore, he has “required” Chinese vessels to refrain from entering the maritime zone of Ecuadorian protection and to respect the laws and regulations of the country.

“The Chinese Government has already clearly demanded that these ships comply with international law and if the countries concerned have other requirements and special restrictions we have also asked our ships to strictly comply with them.”

As he explained, in recent years the government of the ‘Asian giant’ has already promoted the policy of responsible fishing and for this reason, the cooperation has been strengthened with agencies that are responsible for maritime protection and implementation of strong sanctions for those engaged in activities contributing to the destruction of the maritime ecosystem.

For example, according to the official, it has been decided to implement a system for granting permits for the construction of fishing vessels, and permits to carry out fishing on the high seas, which indicate areas and fishing models for the purpose to strictly control that activity and the fishing fleet China has.

In addition, the authorities in this sector have implemented a system of maritime patrols and police control in all ports.

According to Zhang, the Chinese fishing fleet has a monitoring system that can monitor the sailing journey and positioning of fishing boats on the high seas.
Zhang said that with this system, plus the information provided by the Ecuadorian State, it has been determined that the cargo ship Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999, detained last August 13 in Galapagos, “has not carried out fishing or recharging activities in the maritime zone under Ecuadorian jurisdiction”.

“That Chinese boat entered the Galapagos marine reserve to avoid the strong wind gusts and that cargo that was also coming from two other boats from the Chinese province of Taiwan. Furthermore, these recharge activities were carried out in an area that is more than 1,200 kilometers from the Galapagos Islands,” said the official.

The official confirmed that there are 280 Chinese vessels engaged in deep sea fishing operations in the Southeast Pacific Ocean, which are duly registered with the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Organization and would comply with all international protocols.

“China has been actively involved in international and regional negotiations and consultations on fisheries sector management and has been a signatory to various regional fisheries management organizations. We have been strictly complying with all measures for the protection of fishery resources.”

China gets 1.3 million tonnes out of the 2 million it catches annually. Among the most popular species are tuna, mackerel, squid, among others. The latter is the best seller in the Asian markets, while the others are destined for sale to countries such as the United States or Japan.

For several years, shark fins have been very popular in the Chinese diet; however, they have become part of the vulnerable species of the oceans. China’s government has taken steps to reduce its consumption, such as strictly banning it from being served at public banquets.

“Sharks are not a type of fish targeted by Chinese vessels,” Zhang said, adding that the government of his country also requires its fishermen to abide strictly the regulations of international organizations working for the protection of the marine ecosystem.

“Currently, sharks are a very striking species on the part of the international community and China also attaches importance to the protection and management of shark resources. We also work with the international community to foster the sustainable use of the resources coming from sharks. That is why China has included sharks in the marine fauna and flora protection programs.โ€ concluded the Chinese official.

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