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Peru to combat IUU fishing and protect squid fishery with emergency decree

Peru's PRODUCE is cracking down on illegal squid fishing by foreign vessels to protect sustainability and the artisanal fishing sector.

Peru's Ministry of Production (PRODUCE) is taking significant steps to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in its waters, particularly targeting foreign vessels engaged in squid fishing. The recent incident involving the Chinese vessel Tian Xiang, which was caught fishing illegally in Peru's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and received a minimal fine, sparked outrage among Peru's fishing sector.

In response to mounting complaints and concerns from artisanal fishermen, PRODUCE Minister Sergio Gonzales announced plans for an emergency decree to strengthen the country's control and supervision of fishing activities. The proposed regulation includes measures to report foreign vessels violating Peruvian jurisdiction to international organizations like the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization (SPRFMO), potentially leading to the revocation of fishing permits.

The move has been welcomed by industry stakeholders, with Sonapescal President Elsa Vega acknowledging the long-standing issue of permissiveness in allowing foreign squid boats to operate in Peruvian waters without proper oversight. Alfonso Miranda, President of the Peruvian National Society of Industries Fisheries and Aquaculture Committee, emphasized the importance of these reforms in ensuring the sustainability of squid populations and protecting the interests of the domestic artisanal fleet.

While some critics have accused PRODUCE of inaction in the past, the ministry has reported a significant number of fishing vessel inspections and inter-institutional supervision operations in 2024. Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Jesús Barrientos highlighted the seizure of over 1,600 metric tons of seafood that did not meet sustainability standards, with a portion of the confiscated seafood being donated to those in need.

Overall, the proposed regulatory reforms and increased scrutiny of foreign fleets entering Peruvian waters represent a crucial step forward in addressing the challenges posed by IUU fishing. By enhancing control measures and cracking down on illegal fishing activities, Peru aims to protect its marine resources and promote fair competition in the fishing industry.

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