Malpelo is a small island in the East Pacific Ocean, located about 500 km (310 mi) west of the Colombian mainland.
Foreign ships intercepted for illegal fishing in Malpelo
Tuesday, April 23, 2019, 20:30 (GMT + 9)
The Colombian Navy and National Parks captured six boats with more than one ton of fish in this sanctuary of flora and fauna declared by UNESCO as a Natural World Heritage Site.
Illegal fishing in the Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary, in the Pacific Ocean, has become a real problem. Every year, news is published that denounce how boats navigate these waters in search of different marine species. The last alert was launched by the National Natural Parks of Colombia (PNN): a few days ago they intercepted six boats with more than one ton of fish.
Part of the fish that the authorities found on the boats. (Photo: Courtesy PNN)
The operation, carried out in collaboration with the National Navy, the Malpelo Foundation and several local entities, concluded with the capture of 27 men, of whom 21 were Ecuadorians and six Colombians.
In the six boats intercepted the fishermen had different species. Tuna, grouper, sardine and tilefish were some of them. After making the capture, the Navy towed the boats to the port of Buenaventura, in the Valle del Cauca, and made available to the competent authorities those captured.
The island of Malpelo is located in the Panama Basin, considered as a tectonically complex region, since there converge the plates of Nazca and Cocos, an active center of expansion of the seabed.
As reiterated by PNN in a bulletin, the Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary, declared by UNESCO as a Natural World Heritage Site is of great ecosystem importance for the country. The reason? "It is a habitat for birds, mammals and fish and a refuge for large pelagic marine species such as groupers, snappers, grouper, tilefish, tunas and large predators such as sharks." It is located 265 nautical miles from the port of Buenaventura and has an area of 2'667.908 hectares,
However, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), some of these species are in the category of extinction or vulnerability.
"The variety of species prompts some fishermen from neighboring countries such as Ecuador, Costa Rica and Panama, enter the area to carry out activities illegally, generating a constant threat to this important ecosystem," says PNN.