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Montevideo, November 20th 2017 - 04:03 UTC

Ecuador sentences 20 Chinese fishermen for poaching; Beijing cautious about how to react

Thursday, August 31st 2017 - 07:24 UTC
Full article 16 comments
In mid-August, Ecuador detained a Chinese vessel in Galapagos and found 6.600 sharks on board. The 20 Chinese fishermen have been sentenced up to four years In mid-August, Ecuador detained a Chinese vessel in Galapagos and found 6.600 sharks on board. The 20 Chinese fishermen have been sentenced up to four years
On August 29, Chinese foreign ministry said there has been no evidence proving that the vessel was engaged in fishing and transporting there. On August 29, Chinese foreign ministry said there has been no evidence proving that the vessel was engaged in fishing and transporting there.
On board, approximately 300 tons of marine fauna of various species, including endangered hammerhead sharks, were found. On board, approximately 300 tons of marine fauna of various species, including endangered hammerhead sharks, were found.

Overfishing has given rise to a diplomatic trouble between China and Ecuador. In mid-August, Ecuador detained a Chinese vessel in the Galapagos Islands and found 6.600 sharks on board. The 20 Chinese fishermen have been sentenced up to four years for illegally fishing and to pay US$ 5.9 million.

 On August 29, Chinese foreign ministry said there has been no evidence proving that the vessel was engaged in fishing and transporting there.

According to Ecuador’s Ministry of Environment’s statement published on August 14, the Galapagos National Park authorities and the Ecuadorian navy captured a Chinese ship–identified as Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999– with 20 crew members, in the Galapagos Marine Reserve, where absolutely no fishing is allowed. On board, approximately 300 tons of marine fauna of various species, including endangered hammerhead sharks, were found.

The director of the Galapagos National Park said it could be the largest vessel captured within the Marine Reserve.

On August 28, the 20 Chinese fishermen were sentenced by an Ecuadorean judge up to four years and a total of US$5.9 million in fines for illegally fishing. In addition, Ecuador’s foreign ministry revealed it had sent a formal protest to China over the incident. To make matters worse, several groups of demonstrators have been protesting outside the Chinese embassy in Ecuador since the vessel was caught.

In response, the Chinese foreign ministry appeared very fair and impartial in the first place. On August 28, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said:

“We’ve said many times that the Chinese government opposes all forms of illegal fishing. On the issue of protecting endangered wildlife, the Chinese government adopts a zero-tolerance attitude towards illegal trading in endangered wildlife and the products derived from them. The Chinese government always instructs its fishing businesses to operate in accordance with laws and regulations and protect the marine eco-environment. China believes that relevant departments in Ecuador will deal with this case in accordance with law and guarantee the lawful rights and interests of the Chinese personnel and enterprises”.

However, Hua’s attitude slightly changed on August 29. Although she maintained China’s zero-tolerance position again, she emphasized that China has ordered immediate investigation on the case:

“Judging from the information gleaned from the two sides, there has been no evidence proving that the vessel was engaged in fishing and transporting in the Ecuadorian waters. But, unaware of the relevant rules of Ecuador, the vessel did sail in the marine protection zone of the Galapagos Islands without permission of the Ecuadorian government”.

Meanwhile, the director of the Galapagos National Park also acknowledged that the origin of the fishing the Chinese vessel transported is unknown, despite the fact that the vessel did carry thousands of sharks, according to Ecuador’s Ministry of Environment’s statement.

Hua also added that the Chinese government will carry out due investigation and verification: “Any illegal actions, if found, will be severely punished by international law and China’s domestic laws.”

Top Comments

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  • Jack Bauer

    Of course, if the Chinks say so, the fishermen must have been on a cruise, and while partying, drifted inexplicably into Ecuadorian territorial waters....

    Aug 31st, 2017 - 08:40 pm +1
  • DemonTree

    RE: http://en.mercopress.com/2017/08/24/ex-president-lula-admits-he-might-have-to-step-down-as-candidate-in-2018/comments

    Inflated bills from hospitals was about what I expected, and why do you need 5,500 counties, all with Mayors? Brazil's population is what, 3 times the UK's? Seems excessive. Good if the police are finally investigating though, I just hope THEY are not also corrupt.

    “Provided the funds actually end up in infrastructure projects and not in someone's bank account, of course I'm in favour of government spending”

    Not everyone is, especially in places like the US. But Brazil clearly has a much more desperate need for infrastructure. And privatisation may help, but it's not a panacea. What we have seen here is sometimes it goes okay and the private companies make (often big) profits, and other times they go bust and the government (taxpayer) ends up picking up the tab anyway and bailing them out. It's not much good for citizens if the private companies get all the profits and the taxpayers are stuck with all the risks of failure.

    Sep 03rd, 2017 - 05:24 pm 0
  • Jack Bauer

    @DT
    Considering Brazil's population (last counted at 207 million), and its area (8.5 million sq. km), and the politicians' hunger for stealing, the more counties there are - even if they don't generate enough taxes to keep themselves - the better. Many of them, created only for political reasons (direct influence over the local populations), use up all the money they get from either the State or the federal government, in the payroll, none being being left over for social improvements. And I know because our country home is located in one such municipality.

    Privatization may not be a guarantee of a perfect result, but rarely in cases where the government is involved, do things work well. And if the government's regulating agencies did their jobs, the private companies would be kept in check. Here in Brazil cannot recall anything at the moment, which backfired because of privatization...much to the contrary, ex: PB in 2001, opened 51% of its capital, and in 5/6 years was worth over R$ 700 billion on the stock market....today, after the political use of the company (started in 2006/7 by Lula and the PT, and later on the PMDB) with all directors being appointed by political parties, it's worth less than R$ 100 billion. Sea and airports have suffered in much the same way, because the government hasn't enough money to invest...this is another thing that Temer is trying to correct. In all advanced countries these activities are performed by private groups, and work well. Plus, the less pies the government has it's fingers in, the less chance for corruption.

    Sep 03rd, 2017 - 09:13 pm 0
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