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53 Ecuadorian Seiners Currently Not Fishing Due To IATTC Ban Ecuador, August 24, 12

A total of 53 tuna purse seiners with over 182 metric tons capacity are currently subject to the second ban period on tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO). The ban has been in force since July 29th and is scheduled to finalize on September 28th, 2012.

According to the deputy minister of Aquaculture and Fisheries of Ecuador, Guillermo Moran, the government has adopted these tuna conservation and management measures as per the recommendations of international organizations that seek sustainability of the resource.

The following period of the tuna fishing ban will run from November 18th, 2012 to January 18th next year. During that period of time 46 tuna vessels will stop fishing.

During the closures, the boats at port can be serviced and go fishing as soon as the governmental action comes to an end.

Moran recalled that the government takes such tuna conservation and management actions based on the recommendations of international organizations looking for the sustainability of the resource.

The tuna fishing fleet grew from 86 to 105 boats within a period of 10 years and the IATTC started enforcing the tuna bans three years ago, finalizing the cycle next year, said Bruno Leone, tuna entrepreneur. The increase in number of vessels was also encouraged by the arrival of ships from Panama, Guatemala and other countries in the region. Leone said that the industry annually requires about 400,000 metric tons of tuna, but the Ecuadorian capacity barely reaches 180,000 tons.

“Given this, with investment attractions we have requested for foreign tuna fishing vessels to be allowed free movement and to ask vessels to come here to perform their landings,” he stressed.

One of the countries of the region which is key for tuna vessels is Venezuela: “They are buying lots of tuna from us, half of which is marketed in Latin America,” the entrepreneur stated.

Meanwhile, the Ecuadorian tuna industry is working on strengthening meatpacking plants to facilitate the supply.

The latest tuna capture figures published by the IATTC indicate that between 1 January and 1 July, 2012 a total of 289,098 tons was caught, that is to say, 6.7 percent less than in the same period last year, when 309,786 tons had been caught.

Up to 1 July, 2012, the Ecuadorian vessels caught 117,299 tons of tuna; the Mexican fleet captured 69,403 tons; Panama caught 28,633 tons; and Venezuela captured 28,280 tons, among others.