Illegal Fishing in Uruguay

Photo: Fishing Boat at Sunset. By: Not That Bob James. Source: Flickr.

There is a distinction between unregulated fishing and illegal fishing. Unregulated fishing is that which occurs in international waters, i.e., that which occurs beyond the 200 nautical miles that correspond to each country’s exclusive waters. Illegal fishing, on the other hand, is that which occurs within the limits of this exclusive zone. The difference between these two practices is evident in the controversy surrounding the fishing vessel Lu Rong Yuan Yu 606 of Chinese origin, recently captured in Uruguayan waters, and whose illegality could not be concluded due to language difficulties.

During the capture of said boat, the competent Uruguayan authorities were unable to determine whether or not it was effectively engaged in the practice of illegal fishing. It has been discovered that the Chinese vessel in question belongs to a fleet of squid fishing vessels, which supply a mother ship with their product, and the latter is in charge of taking the merchandise to Chinese ports. Likewise, it has been determined that Chinese vessels find ways to evade the control tools and tracking of their routes in order to engage in illicit fishing activities. It was also discovered that the boat in question had already been arrested in Argentina in 2020 under similar circumstances. Uruguayan Navy patrols seized 11 tons of squid processed and ready for distribution, but found no evidence that the fish was acquired illegally. This is a very particular situation given that Uruguay has been accused of turning a blind eye in similar situations (especially if involving the Chinese). For its part, China has made several claims over the past few years in which it demands its ships to comply by international laws. It is worth mentioning that Uruguay has been considered a pirate port, but has tried to control this by lending logistical support for fishing activities.

Top headline:

El Observador: 芦Problemas de idioma禄 y dudas sobre pesca ilegal: archivan investigaci贸n sobre buque chino detenido

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Embajada de la Rep煤blica Popular China en la Rep煤blica Oriental de Uruguay: Comunicado de la Embajada de China en Uruguay del 2020/08/03.

M24: Uruguay puede quedar expuesto internacionalmente por error en la detenci贸n de buque chino.