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'The fishing sector will give the battle. The Sea of Grau is not for sale'

A second colonization?

Click on the flag for more information about Peru PERU
Saturday, August 26, 2023, 22:00 (GMT + 9)

On different occasions, from this same column and more times than I would like, I have commented that a few years ago an Asian fleet, mainly Chinese, has settled in waters adjacent to the Peruvian ones, fishing for giant squid or squid almost without controls.
These ships have been observed on more than one occasion, by institutions dedicated to the analysis of satellite data, such as Global Fishing Watch or HawkEye360, turning off their identification equipment to enter the Peruvian sea to fish.
Despite the abundant evidence and well-founded suspicions about clandestine incursions into our jurisdictional sea, Peru did not take any steps to prevent them from continuing to occur. Years ago, these vessels entered the ports of Callao and Chimbote to carry out maintenance and other logistic operations. The legislation at that time did not require any condition to ensure that vessels that could be linked to illegal fishing within our maritime domain did not enter Peruvian ports.
However, in August 2020, we witnessed a momentous change in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Faced with reiterated proposals from the fishermen and processors unions, a new supreme decree was promulgated that forced these fleets to have the satellite tracking system of Peruvian state vessels, with a record of the last 6 months, each time they wished to use port services and shipyards in the country.
Three years have passed since its publication and various events have occurred. The most important is that, given the refusal to install satellite equipment, the country restricted the use of ports to these ships. The arrivals by these ships have been minimal during 2020, 2021 and 2022. We all know that they do not want to submit to international standards of security, control and transparency and that hidden in that darkness, Chinese vessels fish more squid than fishermen Peruvians.
Unfortunately, this year, after the visit of the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the Ministry of Production, on May 24, which caused reasonable suspicion, the income of Chinese jigger vessels has increased exponentially. 71 arrivals at ports have been registered so far in 2023, and only one of these ships complied with having the satellite device. If the trend continues, by the end of 2023 the same number of vessels will have entered as in the years prior to 2020.
As Franklin D. Roosevelt said: “In politics, nothing happens by chance. Every time an event arises, you can be sure that it was planned to take place that way". The visit of the Asian diplomat and the massive entry of boats with his flag would not be the result of chance. It seems the beginning of a second colonization.
This reveals how little the requirement of the satellite device is important to exercise adequate control over our sea. Chinese ships have re-entered Peru due to the passivity and unacceptable indolence of a government with little interest in monitoring and guarding our sovereignty.
Very soon, if we continue with this indifferent complacency, they will once again use our country as their only base in the eastern Pacific, to operate without submitting to the minimum controls to combat illegal fishing. Given the capitulation of the Executive, there is little that can be expected from a Congress that would seem more concerned in the fortnightly and five-year periods. The fishing sector will give the battle. The Sea of Grau is not for sale.
 Author/Source: Alfonso Miranda Eyzaguirre / Express (translated from original in spanish)
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