Washington, Aug 2 (EFE) .- The United States supported on Sunday the efforts of the Government of Ecuador to prevent a fleet of Chinese flag vessels from practicing illegal fishing around the Galapagos Marine Reserve.
In a statement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned of “China’s predatory fishing practices” on the Galapagos Island.
“We strongly support Ecuador’s efforts to ensure that vessels with the flag of the People’s Republic of China do not engage in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing,” he said.
Pompeo indicated that Ecuador has warned of the presence of “hundreds of Chinese flagged vessels” that fish near the reserve and that are dedicated to catching sharks for their fins along with many other protected species.
In the statement, Washington’s chief diplomat also endorsed states whose “economies and natural resources are threatened” by Chinese-flagged vessels’ failure to comply with the “rule of law and responsible fishing practices.”
Pompeo noted that China “subsidizes the world’s largest commercial fishing fleet, which routinely violates the sovereign rights and jurisdiction of coastal states.”
“Given this unfortunate record of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, non-compliance with regulations and deliberate degradation of the environment, it is more important than ever for the international community to uphold the rule of law and insist on better environmental management of Beijing, “reads the note.
Pompeo’s pronouncement comes at a time when Washington and Beijing are experiencing one of the most critical moments since the two countries established relations in 1979, especially after the closure of the US Consulate in the city of Chengdu, in response to the previous closure of the Chinese in Houston (Texas).
On July 26, the Ecuadorian Defense Minister, Oswaldo Jarrín, pointed out that a foreign fishing fleet is in international waters near the Galapagos and warned that foreign vessels that illegally enter the territory of his country will be seized.
The official detailed in a press conference that more than a month ago they had detected the presence of a large fishing fleet in the South Pacific and since then they have been alert to their journey north.
According to the Ecuadorian minister, “many” of the ships are Chinese, although they do not know if they belong to the State or are private.
The Galapagos archipelago, which is made up of 13 large islands, six smaller ones and 42 islets, is considered for its biodiversity a natural laboratory that allowed the English scientist Charles Darwin to develop his theory on the evolution and natural selection of species.
(c) EFE Agency