Government of Ecuador promotes plan against illegal fishing to protect exports to EU


QUITO (Sputnik) – The Government of Ecuador announced an action plan together with fisheries guilds to reverse the European Union (EU) call for attention on the control of illegal fishing, which could put the block market at risk for those Ecuadorian products.

"The Government, through vice-presidency, Ministries of Production, Foreign Trade, Investments and Fisheries, Defense, Finance, Foreign Ministry, among other State entities, work to agree internal fronts to execute the Action Plan that will respond to the observations issued by the European Commission to Ecuadorian fisheries, "the Ministry of Production said in a statement.

The European Commission, the EU executive body, issued a yellow card or call for attention for Ecuador on October 30 claiming that this South American country does not carry out an efficient fight against illegal fishing.
That decision is based on the 2010 EU regulation that guarantees that only products from fisheries that have been certified as legal can access the block market.
One of the main criticisms of the European Commission is that Ecuador's fishing law is obsolete in relation to international standards in that area.

In this regard, the Ministry of Production reported that "the country's first official response to the European Commission is part of the strategy that strengthens the decision to approve the new Fisheries and Aquaculture Law, which will replace the current one that dates from 1974 ".

The National Assembly (unicameral parliament) began discussing the project on November 21.
In addition, on November 27 the plenary session unanimously approved an agreement on measures of the governing state of the port aimed at preventing, discouraging and eliminating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, through regulations, policies and surveillance actions, inspection and control
At the end of November, the EU ambassador, Marianne Van Steen, said that in April or May a mission to analyze the progress of the fisheries sector will arrive in Ecuador, which could result in the withdrawal of the yellow card.

That way Ecuador would have a green card, while a red card would imply the closure of the European market for Ecuadorian fishing.

The Ministry of Production announced in the statement that in the first quarter of 2020, national authorities will travel to the EU to try to reverse "as soon as possible the call of attention, protecting national tuna exports".

In Ecuadorian waters over the Pacific Ocean 117 vessels catch an average of 280,000 tons of tuna per year.

The Minister of Production, Ivan Ontaneda, informed the parliament last October 30 that fishing represents more than 1.6 billion dollars in foreign exchange and that more than 150,000 people depend on this activity.

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