Circle hook for longline fishing. (Photo: SRP)
Excise tax on circle hooks cancelled to protect turtles
Tuesday, August 07, 2012, 16:40 (GMT + 9)
The Ecuadorian Committee of Foreign Trade (Comex) decided to suspend the 30 per cent tax applied on imports of circle hooks by longline artisanal fishermen.
The national Government decided to take this action on 11 July, after analyzing a technical report issued by the Vice Ministry of Aquaculture and Fisheries and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
The paper shows that circle hooks are environmentally-friendly fishing gear, since they reduce by 70 per cent the by-catch of sea turtles.
Furthermore, it is also stressed that reducing the impact on the marine ecosystem is a key element for responsible fisheries and represents an increasingly important requirement for entry into the main export markets for high value fish products, reported the Undersecretariat of Fishery Resources (SRP).
The government's decision will allow the placement and availability of circle hooks in the local market at a competitive price compared with the type 'J' hook.
Currently, these hooks are the most commonly used by artisanal fishermen although they are very harmful because they cause the most sea turtle deaths.
Comex's adopted measure is important for the environment since the artisanal longline fleet comprises more than 4,000 vessels.
Last July, SRP head, Jimmy Martínez, donated 50,000 C16/0 circle hooks to replace the type 'J' ones that had been used in the fishing line for catching large pelagic fish (tuna, billfish).
"Technology transfer contributes to providing artisanal fishermen with environmentally-friendly hook, since it has been statistically shown to be an efficient device in the catches of the target species, unlike the type 'J' hook, which causes a high mortality of non-target species as a consequence of the catches of species such as turtles, seabirds and marine mammals," expressed Martínez, the newspaper El Telégrafo reported.
- Improvements assessed to reduce artisanal fleet environmental impact
By Analia Murias