September 20th, 2018

Earlier this month, Peruvian President Martín Alberto Vizcarra signed a decree to ramp up Peru’s efforts in the fight against illegal fishing. This decree comes on the heels of Sea Shepherd Legal’s second workshop with Peruvian authorities, including representatives from the Coast Guard (DICAPI), the Ministry of Environment (MINAM), the Environmental Prosecutors’ Office (FEMA), and the national judiciary.

In line with Sea Shepherd Legal’s recommendations, the new decree charts an aggressive approach to interdiction of illegal fishing and associated activities. After clarifying the roles and jurisdiction of the relevant agencies—as in many nations, Peru’s enforcement efforts have been compromised by jurisdictional misunderstandings between prosecutors, police, coast guard, and fisheries regulators—the decree announces the government’s authority to scrap fishing vessels engaged in illegal fishing.

While Peru arguably possessed this authority under existing legislation, the new decree eliminates any doubt. In its well-documented struggle with illegal mining in the Amazon, Peru has not hesitated to destroy mining equipment. This at once sends a powerful message of deterrence while removing dangerous equipment from the criminal market. So far, Peru has refrained from pursuing this remedy in cases of illegal fishing. With this new decree in place, the stage is set for a change. Sea Shepherd Legal strongly encourages Peru to use this authority in appropriate cases.

Sea Shepherd Legal continues to collaborate with Peru to enhance legal protections for marine wildlife and ensure the vitality of ecosystems within the South Pacific Ocean. Make a donation today to support our work.

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