The fishing represents the third non – oil revenue for the country, after the bananas and shrimp . The pandemic , according to Luigi Benincasa, director of the Ecuadorian Tuna Boat Association , took most of the vessels on the high seas and working was one of the best strategies to avoid contagion. Those who are dedicated to this activity, he said, are very familiar with biosafety protocols .
Still, the emergency had an impact on the sector. Bruno Leone, president of the National Chamber of Fisheries , indicated that between March and April production fell by 40%, but currently the outlook is more encouraging and the numbers reflect that in relation to the previous year the impact does not exceed 5%.
The dynamics of nature, Leone explained, is also related to the process of economic recovery . The presence of the La Niña phenomenon on the Ecuadorian coasts slows down the catch and, therefore, prices tend to rise. On the other hand, the regulations of international organizations establish closed periods in which the activity must slow down. In the case of tuna , the next one is scheduled for November 8 and will last 72 days.
And it is precisely the full compliance with these provisions, which the fishing sector expects by all international fleets, particularly from China . For this reason, at the next meeting of the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization , to be held in Russia in January 2021, Ecuador will present: “Prohibition of transshipment at sea, prohibition of interacting with auxiliary vessels, observers on board and fleet limit. We have similar measures, so they don’t have to manage some fleets or one type of fishery in one way and others in another way ”.
This while the efforts to lift the yellow card of the European Union (EU) are progressing at a good pace according to the representative of the sector. The recent virtual evaluations of the commission in charge have been positive, after the integration of the Inter-Institutional Crisis Committee ; and as established by the new law, which was part of the EU requirements, an electronic platform with international resources for the control of traceability is about to be contracted.
In 2019, 300 thousand tons of tuna were caught, local industries process about 500 thousand tons a year of this marine product, of which 80% are exported and the rest is destined for local consumption. (I)