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13 Jan 2021

Gonzalo Torrico, China Dialogue

South America mulls regional policing efforts to curb squid overfishing by foreign vessels

"South America plans regional response to squid overfishing" 1 February 2021

Peru’s neighbour Ecuador found itself the focal point of global attention last year when a fleet of over 300 mostly Chinese fishing boats was identified near the buffer zone around Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands. This fleet has since continued southward into Peru and some vessels have arrived in Chile’s waters. South American nations are now pledging to work together to safeguard their marine resources.

Ecuador’s president, Lenín Moreno, told the UN General Assembly in September that the countries of the Permanent Commission to the South Pacific (CPPS) – Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Colombia – condemned illegal fishing in the vicinity of their territories and vowed to work together to tackle it. They said they would exchange information in real time to highlight suspected IUU practices and enable rapid responses. And on 4 November, the CPPS issued a statement that specified the “large fleet of foreign-flagged vessels” as cause for concern. [...]

Chinese vessels first neared the EEZ buffer around Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands back in 2017, as satellite images from Global Fishing Watch (GFW) show. Although the fleet’s incursions into the EEZ are few, its presence raises concerns for both biodiversity conservation and the fishing industry. [...]