Portions of giant squid or poton (dosidicus gigas)
China announces a three-month moratorium on giant squid fishing off the Galapagos and Argentina
Friday, August 07, 2020, 00:50 (GMT + 9)
China will begin on September 1 a three-month fishing moratorium in international waters off the coast of the Galapagos Islands, which will be added to the one started last month off the Argentine coast, the Ecuadorian ambassador confirmed today to Efe. Beijing, Carlos Larrea.
Larrea told Efe that on July 1 the Chinese government informed the embassies that its fleet in the eastern Pacific was going to "self-regulate" between the months of September and November, both included, and temporarily cease fishing for giant squid to facilitate the reproduction of the species.
"A DOOR THAT OPENS TO NEGOTIATE A GREATER COMMITMENT"
"We are very satisfied with this progress, it is a door that opens to negotiate a greater commitment with China and sit down with them and not against them," said the Ecuadorian ambassador and explained that tomorrow, Thursday, technical delegations from both countries will virtually begin a bilateral negotiation to try to prolong this moratorium and become permanent.
Chinese fishing vessels operate outside the 200-mile exclusive economic zone around the Galapagos Islands nature reserve, but migratory species are highly mobile outside the zone "so bilateral agreements must be reached," Larrea stressed.
"We are interested that they move away from the area and stop fishing permanently, period," he added and defended the establishment of a ban around the islands on the giant squid so as not to endanger the species.
Chinese jigger vessel catching giant squid (Dosidicus gigas) Photo: Stockfile
The Chinese fleet accounts for about 70 percent of the global catch of giant squid.
The moratorium will apply to the area between 5 degrees north latitude and 5 degrees south latitude and between 110 and 95 degrees west longitude, according to the China Newsweek publication.
Jigging vessel catching giant squid out of Peruvian waters (photo: Stockfile)
MORATORY OFFSHORE ARGENTINE COAST UNTIL OCTOBER
On July 3, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs announced in a statement a first "voluntary moratorium that aims to conserve fishery resources in the open sea and subject to no international organization" off the Argentine coast.
This break, between the months of July and September, inclusive, is limited to the international waters quadrant between 32 and 44 degrees south latitude and 48 and 60 degrees west longitude, although the department advanced another moratorium "in the open sea in the eastern Pacific Ocean from September 1 ".
"During the moratorium, all Chinese fishing vessels in the area, including trawlers and squid fishing boats, must suspend their activities," added the ministry, which pledged to "strengthen supervision of the fishing vessels during this period."
The official text also noted that the ministry would establish "a system for collecting data on squid in the open sea" that "will serve to monitor the effects of the moratorium and, with the information gathered, the ministry could evaluate and adjust the moratorium."
China Newsweek said the areas covered by the moratoriums are "the most important squid grounds" for China, whose catches of this animal are consumed entirely in the domestic market.
The around 200 boats that worked in the area surrounding Argentina were dedicated to catching Argentine squid, the most highly priced in the Chinese market, while the eastern Pacific is the area of the American red squid.
CHINA HAS MORE THAN 600 BOATS TO FISH SQUID
According to the Chinese Ocean Academy, the Asian country has a fleet of more than 600 squid fishing boats, which caught more than 520,000 tons of squid in 2018.
Part of the Chinese jigging fleet in Montevideo port (Photo: stockfile)
Last Sunday, the Secretary of State of the United States, Mike Pompeo, issued a statement in which he showed his support "for Ecuador's efforts to ensure that vessels flying the flag of the People's Republic of China do not engage in illegal, undeclared fishing. and unregulated. "
For his part, the Minister of Defense, Oswaldo Jarrín, pointed out on July 26 the existence of a foreign fishing fleet in international waters near the Galapagos and warned that foreign vessels that illegally enter Ecuador would be seized.