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Explained: Why Ecuador was angered by a Chinese flotilla near its waters



Ecuador has officially expressed its “discomfort” to China over the fishing vessels in its waters. The United States, which is already opposing China on multiple fronts, has expressed its support for Ecuador.

Ecuador was on alert earlier this week as a flotilla of 260 mostly Chinese fishing vessels– what some called a “floating city”– was sighted near the Galapagos archipelago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, whose aquatic species such as manta rays and sharks have been endangered by commercial fishing.

Chinese fishing around Galapagos: 

  • Ecuador has stated that the situation is repeated every year and such vessels reach the outer limit of the archipelago, outside the country’s exclusive zone.In 2019, 245 Chinese fishing vessels were sighted in the area where Ecuador’s writ does not extend.
  • In 2017, a Chinese ship had entered Ecuador’s waters and its authorities seized the ship.
  • That time Ecuador had discovered 300 tonnes of wildlife on board, mostly the critically endangered scalloped hammerhead sharks.
  • It has been observed that the two-thirds of hammerhead shark fins found in Hong Kong markets come from the Galapagos area.