On the morning of 5th August, China accepted a direct negotiation with Ecuador on the issue of fishing near the Galapagos EEZ. During this meeting, China ensured that it understands and respects Ecuadorian and public concerns and has recognized the Galapagos Islands as an important natural reserve in Ecuador, the cultural and natural heritage of all humanity. For a summary of events leading to this meeting check out this article explaining what China are doing in the Galapagos and why, but for now...
... what has China agreed to do?
From September to November in the western high seas of the Galapagos protection zone all Chinese fishing vessels would be in a fishing moratorium, meaning the fleet will cease operations.
China agreed that Ecuador supervise its fishing vessels in international waters. If the Ecuadorian government has any indication of illegal fishing by the Chinese fleet, China is to be informed and as such will severely punish and uphold a policy of ‘zero tolerance’ to all related vessels and the companies to which they belong.
It's a great start and all thanks to the Ecuadorian government and public outcry.
Points for concern
The moratorium is not until September, whilst it is amazing that this is going ahead at all, will it be too little too late for the marine fauna that live in this epic stretch of water?
Does dead, finned, and endangered species such as whale sharks washing up along Ecuadors coastline not already count as an 'indication' of illegal fishing?
The Foreign Minister Luis Gallegos announced that there will be an additional meeting to refine the points of the agreement. Shark Guardian will continue to keep you updated throughout this event, until an appropriate resolution has been found. If you'd like to check out our other campaign banning shark fin in the UK, please do so and sign the petition here. The campaign for banning shark fin in the EU can be found here.
Dive Magazine article on events here featuring the above mentioned footage of the finned whale shark.