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Peru Strengthens Fight Against Illegal Fishing in Response to Recent Incidents

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Peru’s Ministry of Production (PRODUCE) is taking decisive action to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Peruvian waters, particularly focusing on squid fishing by foreign vessels. The recent incident involving the Chinese vessel Tian Xiang operating illegally in Peru’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which received a minuscule fine of PEN 242 (USD 64, EUR 60), has sparked outrage within Peru’s fishing sector.

Sonapescal, the National Society of Artisanal Fishing, and other stakeholders have raised concerns following multiple reports of foreign vessels seemingly engaging in fishing activities within Peru’s EEZ. In response, PRODUCE Minister Sergio Gonzales has announced plans for an emergency decree aimed at bolstering the country’s supervision of fishing operations, addressing industry criticisms of inadequate governmental enforcement.

The proposed regulation seeks to establish a new mechanism enabling Peru to report foreign vessels infringing on its jurisdiction to international organizations such as the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization (SPRFMO), potentially leading to punitive measures like revoked fishing permits. Sonapescal President Elsa Vega emphasized the long-standing permissiveness issue, suggesting that hundreds of foreign squid boats have exploited lax controls to enter Peruvian ports.

Alfonso Miranda, President of the Peruvian National Society of Industries Fisheries and Aquaculture Committee, welcomed the prospective regulatory changes, noting the implications for both the domestic fishing sector and international markets. Miranda highlighted the significance of mitigating risks associated with providing services to vessels linked to IUU fishing activities, underscoring the potential impact on the sustainability of squid species and the competitive dynamics with the country’s artisanal fleet.

PRODUCE has rebuffed claims of inaction, citing substantial efforts to combat IUU fishing. Notably, in observance of the International Day for the Fight against IUU Fishing on 5 June, the ministry disclosed conducting 71,432 vessel inspections and 1,597 inter-institutional supervision operations in 2024. Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Jesús Barrientos reported a seizure of 1,640 metric tons of non-compliant seafood, with 443 MT allocated for donation to those in need.

As part of its ongoing initiatives, PRODUCE is finalizing arrangements to acquire…

Rachel Adams

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