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'...in light of almost 200 irregular entries of Chinese ships to Peru since 2023, it is necessary to improve the strategy...'

Ministry of Production imposes a ridiculous fine on a Chinese squid jigger that fished illegally in Peru

Click on the flag for more information about Peru PERU
Monday, May 20, 2024, 06:00 (GMT + 9)

Since the beginning of the administration of Minister Sergio González Guerrero, 26 arrivals of Chinese ships have been registered at ports in Peru without the monitoring of satellite devices required by Peruvian regulations, SONAPESCAL denounces.

The Tian Xiang boat from China would have fished illegally within Peru, but was fined only 250 soles, denounced the vice president of the National Artisanal Fishing Society of Peru (SONAPESCAL), Edwin Houghton.

He added that, with the benefits of prompt payment, the effective fine could end up being 100 soles.

It should be noted that Peruvian fishermen denounce that there is a disproportion between the fines imposed on them and that imposed on this deep-draft Chinese industrial vessel, a fact that raises suspicion of possible favoring of foreign fleets.

Houghton recalled that Supreme Decree No. 016-2016-PRODUCE requires foreign squid vessels to enter Peru to use its ports and shipyards, using Peru's satellite device.

“Despite this, the number of arrivals to Peruvian ports of these ships that omit the use of the satellite device has been more than 150 in 2023 and 35 so far in 2024,” revealed the fishing businessman.

Recently, various artisanal fishermen have reported on social networks encounters between them and Chinese squid boats very close to the Peruvian maritime limit of 200 miles and even very close to important ports such as Chimbote, Callao and Pisco.

"Apparently, they would be entering shipyards of the Peruvian Navy to be repaired and be able to continue operating off the Peruvian coast," he said.

More complaints

Another fact that has generated indignation in public opinion is the sanction of the Chinese industrial vessel Tian Xiang, for having presented fishing speeds for almost two hours in the Peruvian sea, on September 19, 2023.

Houghton explained that, on the surface, this might be an appropriate sanction; However, he draws attention that, far from immobilizing the ship to properly investigate the event, it was allowed to set sail without incident and, of course, the resources that would have been illegally captured were not confiscated.

He specified that the penalty was less than 250 soles, a ridiculous amount that does not contribute to repairing the environmental damage, nor to discouraging the future occurrence of these same acts.

"They impose exorbitant fines on artisanal fishermen, initiate criminal proceedings against us, freeze our bank accounts and confiscate our boats and fishing equipment. Meanwhile, we see in this case that the Chinese boats that have been seen by our fishermen inside of our 200 miles receive sanctions with amounts that sound like a joke,” he said.

Ning Tai 83 boat in front of the SIMA shipyard in Chimbote

Consequently, he warned that this situation not only puts our activity at risk, but also demonstrates an alarming lack of equity in the application of the laws.

“Where is the Minister of Defense who does not put order in the Sea of Grau?” asked the vice president of SONAPESCAL.

As recorded in the sanctioning file, the Tian Xiang ship would have entered to change crew members and would have only been in Peru for one day.

However, during her journey she would have fished illegally in the Peruvian sea. In this context, on April 22, in response to the latest events and the claim of artisanal fishermen for the recent incidents of foreign ships entering Peru irregularly, the current management of the Ministry of Production mentioned that it would intensify its inspection actions. against illegal fishing.

However, the truth is that since the administration of the current Minister, Sergio González Guerrero, began (April 2 of this year), there have been 26 arrivals of Chinese ships to ports in Peru in the dark; that is, without the monitoring of satellite devices required by Peruvian regulations.

Another alarming case was the recent arrival of the Hua Ying 78 ship, which reportedly entered Paracas Bay in Pisco on April 15. Days before her arrival, exactly on April 2, according to the Global Fishing Watch portal, she apparently had registered an entry to Peru to do fishing activities.

Vessel HUA YING 78 entering the jurisdictional waters of Peru on May 2, 2024 to allegedly fish illegally. Then he would enter Peru to use its port services without receiving any type of sanction (Source: Global Fishing Watch)

Likewise, it is evident that in the last six months the aforementioned ship has already turned off her satellite equipment twice for about 10 days.

“That is, it generated opacity between December 1 and 10, 2023 right on the edge of the Peruvian sea and near Galapagos between February 6 and 16, 2024. Despite this background, the Ministry of Production authorized the entry of this ship to Peru, when it should have been denied, or allowed entry, but to exercise its sanctioning capacity. But, as recorded in the records of the Maritime Port Authority they have let the ship come and go freely as if nothing had happened,”  said Houghton.

He indicated that on April 4, the Jin Hai 728 ship entered Peru to change crew, however, she entered to perform maintenance at the SIMA shipyard in Chimbote.

Furthermore, at the time, he recalled that “The Outlaw Ocean Project” identified an event apparently linked to human rights violations on this vessel.

Only so far in May of this year, four vessels have been identified that were improperly authorized to enter without the Peruvian satellite device, but that have serious records of illegal fishing or labor abuses.

These are the ships Ning Tai 11, Zhou Yu 908, Pu Yuan 827 and, the aforementioned, Hua Ying 78.

The first three have carried out illegal transshipments and due to problems related to the shutdown or distortion of the signal of their satellite devices for prolonged periods, which, as is known, is an indicator of possible illegal fishing.

Toughen sanctions

The vice president of SONAPESCAL, Edwin Houghton, pointed out that in light of almost 200 irregular entries of Chinese vessels to Peru since 2023, it is necessary to improve Peru's strategy to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in its waters. .

In this regard, he raised his total prohibition of entry into the Peruvian sea for vessels that refuse to use the satellite device that allows the Peruvian government to monitor them.

“This only puts the sustainability of marine resources at risk, especially when very low penalties end up being imposed for very serious offenses such as illegal fishing by a foreign vessel in the sovereignty of Peru. This only does more than generate an environment of impunity,” he stated.

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