Since 2015, Ecuador did not catch so little tuna. The third export product after shrimp and bananas has fallen by 5.23% the year it just ended. The statistics of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) reveal that situation in the Eastern Pacific Ocean (OPO), and that the 115 tuna purse seine vessels (purse seines) of Ecuador reduced their catches in relation to their immediate competitor, Mexico .
The Mexican vessels managed to fish in the area almost what the Ecuadorian stopped capturing: 15,000 tons. The situation could worsen in the coming months.
Mexican-flagged ships have thus improved their market share by 3 percentage points. They still have less than half of the cake that belongs to Ecuador.
In 2017, the North American nation had 18.1% of the total and in 2018 it reached 21.2%, according to the IATTC.
From 2011 to 2015 the catches of Ecuador had not stopped growing, reaching the point of reaching 301,977 metric tons in 2015, 100 thousand more than those achieved five years earlier, which placed the industry on the world map. Many boats of Central American flags, mainly, were nationalized. Today the industry fears that the opposite happens, after the increase of the price of fuels.
In 19 years, until January 2014, Ecuador doubled its tuna fleet. The records of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (CIAT) indicated that Ecuador had up to that date 114 vessels with purse seines to fish the species. Five years later we only have one more boat.
The figures for canned fish exports reflect the situation. Last year, foreign sales in volume fell 0.4%. However, the unit price was better by 5.8%, according to the Central Bank of Ecuador.
Along with other species of fish, in total Ecuador received $ 1,538 million in exports, almost half in relation to bananas and plantains, but twice what cocoa beans meant and processed. Fishing and aquaculture, with $ 4,772 million, represent, according to data from 2018, 37.2% of non-oil exports. (I)