The visit to the country by seven members of the European Parliament who make up the Committee on Fisheries (PECH) had a positive balance, who arrived on February 22 to learn about the progress of the Ecuadorian fishing sector and the assumed international obligations in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

This is after the European Union notified Ecuador with a yellow card in 2019 as a warning to improve its legal framework and fight against illegal fishing. However, after visiting tunnel hunters and talking with unions and authorities, Pierre Karleskind, president of the Commission, highlighted the development that Ecuador has had in these five years.

The new fisheries law and the electronic platform, one of the advances that Ecuador will show the European commissioners so that the ‘yellow card’ can be reversed

“In 2019, the EU called on Ecuador to strengthen fishing control, otherwise we would stop importing fish from this country. In five years, the events are impressive for this “small” country…”, the French MEP pointed out on his Twitter, where he also gave details about his and his colleagues’ visit to the tuna factories in Manta.

Fishing is one of Ecuador’s main export products. Canned fish is the third non-oil shipment from the country to the world, after shrimp and bananas. In 2022, these sales amounted to 1,367 million dollars, with a growth of 8%; while fish exports reached $269 million and instead recorded a 7% decline, according to official Central Bank data released by the Ministry of Production.

The European delegation is completed by Predrag Fred Matić (Croatia), Vice President of the Commission; Gabriel Mato (Spain), Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (Spain), Rosanna Conte (Italy), Ladislav Ilčić (Croatia) and Francisco Millán Mon (Spain).

Associations such as the National Chamber of Fisheries (CNP) and the Ecuadorian Tuna Fishing Association (Atunec), whose representatives were also met by MEPs, highlighted the good practices of the Ecuadorian industry, such as fisheries management and traceability, which interested the members of the commission. which, together with local authorities and businessmen, verified the implementation of the Integrated System of Aquaculture and Fisheries (SIAP).

Members of the European Parliament highlighted the good practices of the Ecuadorian industry such as fisheries management, traceability and the implementation of the Integrated Aquaculture and Fisheries System (SIAP). Photo: taken from @Pierre_Ka

“Traceability is at the heart of our demands: informing consumers about what they are buying and protecting fishermen who follow the rules,” Karleskind pointed out during a visit to the factory in Manta.

For his part, Julio José Prado, Minister of Production, Foreign Trade, Investments and Fisheries, pointed out that together with the representatives of the European Parliament, they witnessed the unloading of two Ecuadorian industrial tuna fishing vessels and confirmed that Ecuador respects advanced traceability protocols in all stages of approval from carrying out activities, then catching and transporting fish to the processing plant.

The European Union warns Ecuador about illegal fishing

“During these days, seven members of the European Parliament reviewed and checked how sustainable fishing is managed in Ecuador that goes specifically to Europe, and that’s how we can avoid a yellow card. This is our country’s commitment to sustainable fishing and the competitiveness of this important sector,” said Prado, who pointed out that in 22 months, the implementation of traceability in fishing, digitization, GPS monitoring, an increased number of inspectors, sanctioning processes, and that this puts the country in the last way to get out of the yellow card issued in 2019.

Andrés Arens, deputy minister of aquaculture and fisheries, said the president of the commission commented that Ecuador implements greater controls than some European countries. “This shows that we are taking firm steps to get rid of the yellow card as soon as possible,” said Arens.

The agenda of MEPs in Ecuador culminates this Friday, February 24, with a meeting in Guayaquil with state authorities and representatives of the shrimp farming sector to evaluate the quality and production standards of this resource.