Representatives of Santa Elena, Manabí and El Oro met in Guayaquil to discuss the problem and propose strategies to reduce crime rates. The insecurity made them change their occupation. Fernando Vargas Alarcón, political chief of Salinas canton, province of Santa Elena, said that four thousand years ago, 4,500 artisans went fishing in 1,500 boats. Now only 500 ships do it.
The main reason, he said, is insecurity on the high seas. “The situation is quite serious, but we have not come only to complain, but to deliver clear and concrete proposals,” he said yesterday before the meeting, convened by the Minister of Aquaculture and Fisheries, Katuska Drouet, in the Zonal Government. Vargas Alarcón, political chief of the canton Salinas, said that they will propose three measures: hold binational meetings with Peru, since – he said – the stolen engines are taken to the neighboring country. Also that the controls are increased and as a last point to form a technical organization with experts that can inspect each engine.
“That is also one of the reasons for the fishermen to dedicate themselves to something else, since they no longer have how to buy another engine to keep working. For us there is something deeper and we believe that drug trafficking also has to do with this, “he said. T
he official did not have the statistics of the robberies reported this year, but he assured that it is an evil of every day. At the meeting was also Fabricio Díaz, governor of Manabí. He indicated that in the province aquatic crimes have a downward trend, compared to 2016. However, he did not have the figures at hand either. He stressed that the articulation of institutions is important to improve security.
He also proposed that, for example, helicopters be used for aerial patrols and that ground investigations be intensified to prevent unlawful acts. Minister Drouet said that the purpose of the meeting is to review the security problems that affect the sector and what strategies can be applied. “There have been more than 900 thefts of engines, fishing gear and boats; we want to reduce the theft in the high seas. We had meetings with the interior and defense ministers. “Additionally, it announced that in 2018 $ 11 million will be invested for security on the high seas.
For example, for the acquisition of equipment, such as satellite tracking and panic buttons for craft fishing vessels. “All those over 20 gross registered tons (GRT) have these systems.” Jorge Cabrera, national director of the Aquatic Spaces of the Ecuadorian Navy, reiterated that it works together to eradicate the illicit acts. “In the last month we intensified the operations”.
The Rear Admiral explained that this year they completed a project to deliver four coastguard boats: two of 26 meters in length and another two of 50 meters in length, the last one was delivered a month ago. “There are projects in the folder to execute them in the shortest possible time. This helps to achieve better control at sea and reduce crime levels. “He added that they hold permanent meetings with captains of border ports of Peru and Colombia to coordinate actions. (I)
El Oro, the most affected The president of the National Chamber of Aquaculture, José Camposano, pronounced at the beginning of the month that the damage to shrimp farms is $ 50 million per year, either due to the theft of the product, machinery or inputs.
93 cases were reported in El Oro, from January to November, but the victims remain silent for fear.
A citizen, aged 34, died on December 11 in a robbery to a shrimp farm in Machala.