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'...there are great pressures to return things to the state prior to this rule...'

Three years have passed since a Peruvian regulation challenged the IUU squid fishing in the South Pacific: : what has improved and what has not?

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Saturday, August 26, 2023, 09:00 (GMT + 9)

Until before 2020, hundreds of Chinese and other Asian-flagged foreign industrial vessels fishing for giant squid, many with indications of being involved in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, entered annually. to Peru to require port services.
Within the framework of measures to prevent IUU fishing in Peru, in August 2020, the Peruvian government promulgated Supreme Decree No. 016-2020-PRODUCE, which obliges these fleets to have the satellite vessel tracking system of the country (SISESAT) if they wish to use the national port and shipyard services.
This event brought together an outstanding coalition of experts and leaders in the field of fishing to analyze the impact that this standard has had three years after its publication.
Alfonso Miranda, president of CALAMASUR, stressed that the supreme decree has marked a before and after in the fight against illegal fishing in Peru.
“Before this regulation, we provided logistical facilities for the use of our ports to a fleet that had been caught on various occasions turning off their satellite equipment to enter Peruvian and Ecuadorian waters to fish illegally. Today, those vessels that decided not to implement the satellite tracking system cannot enter to use our port services”, he stated during his participation in the event.
Likewise, Miranda highlighted that, although only a small fraction of the hundreds of foreign squid vessels installed the satellite, this is positive because it has become evident that most of these vessels have preferred to be prevented from accessing the logistical facilities that it gave them. Peru.
He also mentioned that the refusal to install Peru's satellite tracking system is not due to financial limitations, but rather would aim to evade controls and hinder transparency about its activity.
He added that these vessels have preferred to return annually to their ports of origin, thousands of nautical miles from the South Pacific, and obviously, the cost of doing so, both in time and money, is exponentially higher than installing satellite equipment in Peru.
“It is estimated that each ship that goes to a Chinese port from the South Pacific must lose more than 90 days of fishing in the round trip and spend more than one and a half million dollars. They prefer to disburse that sum than pay 200 dollars a month in the corresponding satellite control, for this reason it is clear how much they intend to hide”, he concluded.
For her part, Uruguayan journalist Sabina Goldaracena revealed that, despite the fact that the entry of these ships into Peru has decreased considerably due to their refusal to install satellite tracking devices, they have begun to find ways to do so.
“Since the promulgation of the norm, 129 arrivals at port have been registered and only 12 were by vessels that had the satellite device. The remaining 117 are divided into 35 that entered due to reasons of force majeure [that is, forced arrivals due to emergencies that could put the health or safety of the crew at risk] and the rest entered with other arguments properly related to work. provisioning or maintenance logistics”.
ACCIDENT. In 2010, for unknown reasons, the Chinese ship Fuyuan 3 capsized more than two miles off the coast of Callao, with 23 crew members on board. The Peruvian Navy helped with the rescue efforts. Photo: Andina
Likewise, Goldaracena drew attention to the fact that 71 arrivals have been registered in the last few months alone and stressed that, if this trend continues, by the end of this year the number of arrivals could be the same as before 2020.
In other words, she specified that these vessels have begun to use another series of logistical advantages that Peru gives them despite not having installed satellite equipment to guarantee control in the Peruvian sea.
In his turn, lawyer Piero Rojas, professor of administrative law at the Universidad Científica del Sur, pointed out that there are inconsistencies in the records of port inspections carried out by the Ministry of Production on these vessels.
In this regard, he stated that the current legal regime of the control activity clearly provides that the records must be completed in all fields in order to have evidence of the real events that led to the arrival of foreign vessels in Peru.
“This would allow the adoption of corrective measures or, if applicable, the imposition of sanctions. However, to date, it has been shown that the authorities of the fishing sector are not carrying out an adequate inspection since many of the records do not state the reasons or circumstances that led to the arrivals. This generates not only an omission to comply with a legal mandate, but also that the State cannot make the right decisions in favor of combating IUU fishing”, he said.
Meanwhile, Magali Estrada, a journalist from Ojo Público, presented a report that narrates efforts that interested parties have been making to weaken the scope of the Supreme Decree.
She narrated that Ojo Público accessed nine official documents, since the rule was issued until this year, in which they realize the existing pressures to make the rule more flexible.
Last May, the political commentator Rafael Rey denounced that the ambassador of the People's Republic of China and the main diplomats of that country in Peru had gone to the Ministry of Production (PRODUCE), fighting for a more flexible control established by Peru and pressing for immediate attention to their demands.
PRODUCE never clarified what issues were discussed at that meeting, but, coincidentally, as of that date there has been a massive entry of Chinese ships without complying with the controls stipulated by Peruvian legislation.
At the end of the event, Alfonso Miranda reflected on the importance of this rule to increase surveillance of the Peruvian sea and reduce the logistical facilities that the Peruvian State gave to fleets that have been discovered fishing in Peruvian waters on more than one occasion.
However, he expressed his concern that currently, there is great pressure to return things to the state prior to this rule.
“Clearly they are looking for Peru to go back on its achievements in the control and surveillance of its sea and that, recently, they have taken another step in the face of the passivity of the authorities in charge of this issue. It is unacceptable that entries to Peruvian ports return to levels prior to those of the norm and that no action is taken. The Peruvian State cannot pretend that it does not realize that these ships make fun of the country and affect our main fishery for human consumption," he concluded.


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