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  1. Profile
    1. Basic legislation
    2. Legal definition
    3. Guidelines and codes of conduct
    4. International arrangements
  2. Planning
    1. Authorization system
    2. Access to land and water
    3. EIA
  3. Operation
    1. Water and wastewater
    2. Fish movement
    3. Disease control
    4. Drugs
    5. Feed
  4. Food safety
    1. Miscellaneous
      1. References
        1. Legislation
        2. Related resources
      2. Related links
        Profile
        Basic legislation
        The Fisheries and Fisheries Development Law (Ley de Pesca y Desarrollo Pesquero) (1974, as amended) has been revised in 1985 (Law reforming the Fisheries and Fisheries Development Law, Ley Reformatoria de la Ley de Pesca y Desarrollo Pesquero), in order to include aquaculture among the activities it regulates. The law covers capture, aquaculture, processing and trade.
        The General Regulation to the Fisheries and Fisheries Development Law (Reglamento General a la Ley de Pesca y Desarrollo Pesquero) (2002) establishes the procedures to set up aquaculture facilities and deals with operational aspects of the activity (authorization system; environmental impact assessment; and use of veterinary drugs). Titles II, III, IV and VI are specifically applicable to aquaculture.

        The National Council for Fisheries Development (Consejo Nacional de Desarrollo Pesquero), which is a government body attached to the Ministry of Foreign Commerce, Industrialization, Fisheries and Competitiveness (Ministerio de Comercio Exterior, Industrialización, Pesca y Competitividad), is responsible for the development of the national fisheries policy, the approval of the fisheries development plans and programmes, and the yearly assessment of the results in order to allow authorities to make necessary changes. The Council also participates in the drafting of bills and regulations implementing the national policy, decides about the classification of companies (see § on miscellaneous information below) in relation with the assignment of generic and specific benefits recognized by the Law, establishes prices and percentages concerning the amount of fish and fishery products to be allocated to the national market, determines which aquatic species can be exploited according to the technical reports of the National Institute for Fisheries (Instituto Nacional de Pesca), and issues the reports required by the Law and its Regulations.

        The Ministry of Foreign Commerce, Industrialization, Fisheries and Competitiveness (formerly the Ministry for Natural Resources and Energy, Ministerio de Recursos Naturales y Energéticos) is in charge of the supervision and implementation of the national fisheries policy, via the Under Secretariat for Fishery Resources (Subsecretería de Recursos Pesqueros). In addition, the Ministry regulates the raising, use and trade/marketing of freshwater species, as well as any specific case that might not be provided for by the Law.
        More specifically, the Under Secretariat for Fishery Resources fulfils the following functions: it ensures compliance with the laws and regulations concerning fisheries; drafts the fisheries development plans and programmes and submits them to the National Council for Fisheries Development for approval; supervises the activities to be performed by the fisheries public sector and coordinates its relations with the private sector; manages the fisheries financial credit and supervises its use; and approves the reports and plans submitted by the companies working in the fisheries sector.
        Lastly, the Directorate General for Fisheries (Dirección General de Pesca) is the specialized body of the Ministry responsible for the control and supervision of fisheries, hunting and harvesting of aquatic resources, the implementation of the fisheries programmes adopted by the Government, and the control of the industry and the trade of fish products.
        Legal definition
        The explanatory notes to the Law reforming the Fisheries and Fisheries Development Law refer to aquaculture as "la cría y cultivo de especies bioacuáticas" (the breeding and cultivation of living aquatic species).

        Furthermore, the amended Fisheries and Fisheries Development Law defines fisheries as the use of living aquatic resources in any of the following phases: capture, culture, processing and trade. More specifically, the Law states that "[l]a fase de cultivo [de la actividad pesquera] de las especies bioacuáticas comprende el desove, cría y producción de las mismas, los que se realizarán cuidando de no interrumpir el proceso biológico en su estado natural y de no atentar contra el equilibrio ecológico con el objeto de obtener una producción racionalizada" (the phase [of the fishing activity] involving the culture of living aquatic species comprises the spawning, breeding and production of those species, having regard not to interrupt the natural biological process and jeopardize the ecological balance in order to obtain a rationalized production). Accordingly, the Regulation to the Law specifies the following: "[e]l cultivo y cría de especies bioacuáticas en aguas de mar, fondos marinos, zonas intermareales, tierras altas sin vocación agrícola, cuerpos de aguas interiores y continentales, técnicamente permisibles, utilizando todos los sistemas artificiales y naturales que aseguren la explotación racional del cielo vital de las especies, estará identificado bajo la denominación de Piscicultura o Acuacultura" (the culture and breeding of living aquatic species in technically permissible (see § on access to land and water) marine waters, seabeds, tidal areas (beaches and bays)  , highlands that are not exploited for farming purposes, inland waterbodies, through any natural or artificial system ensuring a rational exploitation of the vital cycle of the species, shall be identified as Aquaculture).
        Guidelines and codes of conduct
        In 2001, a new certification standard for organic shrimp farming was developed in cooperation with farmers, importers, the Naturland Association (German-based certifier of organic products) and the GTZ (German Technical Cooperation Institution – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit). Currently, five aquaculture establishments produce shrimps according to these standards. An accredited independent third-party certification body is responsible for assessing compliance with Naturland's ecolabel.
        International arrangements
        Ecuador is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). In addition, it is one of the Andean Community nations (CAN – Comunidad Andina de Naciones).

        Ecuador is also a party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and to both the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Biosafety Protocol.

        Lastly, Ecuador signed in 2001 a bilateral convention with Peru for the cooperation on fisheries and aquaculture (Convenio marco de cooperación pesquera y acuícola), in which both countries agree on promoting mutual scientific, technological, administrative and fiscal assistance to ensure the sustainable use of hydrobiological resources.
        Planning
        Authorization system
        According to the General Regulation to the Fisheries and Fisheries Development Law, the establishment of an aquaculture facility in highlands that are not exploited for farming purposes is subject to an authorization of the Under Secretariat for Fishery Resources, whereas the setting up of aquaculture facilities in beaches and bays (national property for public use/ tidal areas) requires the obtention of a concession to be issued by the Under Secretariats for Fishery Resources and for National Defence.

        Authorization system
        Applications shall be filed with the Directorate General for Fisheries, with the following supporting documentation:
        • Identification of the applicants and signature of the legal representative (abogado patrocinador).
        • Copy of an identification document; and copy of passport and visa for foreigners.
        • Detailed project plans.
        • Technical study of the project.
        • Property title and corresponding certificate from the Property Registrar.
        • For legal persons, official copy of the statute and memorandum of association and appointment of the legal representative.
        Within 10 days, the Director General for Fisheries shall either reject the application and notify it to the applicant or approve it and submit the complete documentation to the Under Secretary for Fishery Resources, in order to draft the authorization agreement. The whole procedure may not exceed 15 days from the application.

        Concession system
        Foreign and national, natural and legal persons may apply for a concession to set up aquaculture facilities in beaches and bays with the Directorate General for Fisheries  . Concessions are granted for a period of 10 years, which may be extended for periods of equal duration and only for the areas that are actually being used. Correspondingly transfer is subject to an authorization to be issued by the Under Secretariats for Fisheries Resources and for National Defence, upon application to the Director General for Fisheries.
        The size of the project area is subject to the following limitations:
        • Natural persons may not be granted more than 50 ha.
        • Legal persons may not be granted more than 250 ha.
        • Waterbodies with sand-, mud- or rock-beds that are used for pre-breeding or reproduction purposes may not exceed 10 ha, and may not hinder navigation or create an inconvenience to tourism areas.
        All applications ought to be supported by following documentation:
        • Identification of the applicants and signature of the legal representative (abogado patrocinador).
        • Copy of an identification document; and copy of passport and visa for foreigners.
        • Detailed project plans.
        • Technical study of the project.
        • For legal persons, official copy of the statute and memorandum of association and appointment of the legal representative.
        • Application for the concession of beaches and bays and for the authorization to set up the activity, filed with the Under Secretariats for Fishery Resources and for National Defence.
        • Specific plans of the project area, approved by the Directorate General for Merchant Marine and Littoral (Dirección General de la Marina Mercante y del Litoral).
        • Certificate from the Directorate General for Merchant Marine and Littoral stating that the project area does not include mangroves and that the applicant has not been granted other concessions.
        • For legal persons, identification of all members.
        • For foreign natural or legal persons, authorization of the President of the Republic and of the Ministry of Foreign Commerce, Industrialization, Fisheries and Competitiveness.
        Within five days, the Director General shall either approve or reject the application and submit it to the Under Secretariat for Fishery Resources. After the approval of the Under Secretary, the concession agreement is drafted and signed by the Under Secretariats for Fishery Resources and for National Defence, on behalf of the respective Ministries. Within the 90 following days, the Directorate General for Merchant Marine and Littoral shall assign the applicant an occupation number, which is subject to renewal upon payment of an annual fee. Applications for renewal must be filed at least three months before the expiry of the concession.
        Two year after the granting of the concession, the Directorate General for Fisheries assesses the number of works carried out, the plans outlined and the financial situation of the concession holder. If it is found that, for no technical or economic reason, the user has not exploited at least 50 percent of the total concession, the project area shall be reduced in size to the area that is actually being used.

        Species cultivated in aquaculture farms shall either be captured from the sea or from inland waters, or be produced in authorized hatcheries/ breeding laboratories. Thus, the General Regulation to the Fisheries and Fisheries Development Law establishes the procedure for the setting up of hatcheries for the production of living aquatic species. Applications shall be filed with the Under Secretariat for Fishery Resources, attaching the following documentation:
        • Identification of the applicant (for legal persons, identification of the company and of the legal representative).
        • Copy of an identification document.
        • Certified copy of the memorandum of association and of the appointment of the legal representative, or failing that, updated certificate from the Commercial Registrar.
        • Environmental Impact Assessment Study concerning the project, including a management plan for the treatment of solid, liquid, and gas waste.
        • Certified copy of the property title, renting contract or concession agreement, including the occupation permit concerning beach and bay areas, or any other document proving the possession and use of the land over which the laboratory is located.
        • Structural and architectural plans of the laboratory, sketch of the geographical location of the land, steps of the operation process, with the approval of the Municipality and the relevant Health Directorate.
        • Permit granted by the Ministry of National Defence (Ministerio de Defensa Nacional), Directorate General of Merchant Marine and Littoral, to install pipes for the inlet and discharge of water in beach and bay areas.
        Within 15 days, the Director General for Fisheries shall either reject the application or approve it and submit the complete documentation to the Under Secretary for Fishery Resources, in order to draft the authorization agreement.

        Eventually, aquaculture farmers – as well as processing companies and fishing ship owners – may create associations to incorporate their activities. The General Regulation to the Fisheries and Fisheries Development Law details the content of the memorandum of association. Associations of concession holders are subject to the approval of the Under Secretariat for Fishery Resources.
        Access to land and water
        The revised Fisheries and Fisheries Development Law explicitly prohibits the destruction or alteration of mangroves, as well as the establishment of fish farms and pools in natural reserves. The Law also states that national fishing reserves shall be created by the President of the Republic upon request of the Ministry of Foreign Commerce, Industrialization, Fisheries and Competitiveness (formerly the Ministry for Natural Resources and Energy) and of the Ministry of Defence, in the interest of the country. Additionally, the aforesaid Ministries shall jointly determine which public marine areas, beaches, marshes, rivers and lakes will be allocated to the development of fisheries, including activities such as the establishment of hatcheries, conservation or fattening houses for living aquatic species, laboratories, aquariums or experimentation centres.

        The Forestry Law is important with respect to the occupation of mangrove areas for aquaculture purposes and in particular shrimpculture purposes. Under this Law (i.e. la Ley Forestal y de Conservación de Areas Naturales y Vida Silvestre) (1981, as amended) mangrove areas are being protected and only recreational fishing may be permitted therein. Therefore, aquaculture activities may only be authorized outside mangrove areas. In particular, the Consolidated Text of the Secondary Legislation issued by the Ministry of the Environment (Texto Unificado de la Legislación Secundaria del Ministerio del Ambiente) (2002) establishes that the said Ministry is responsible for granting concessions for the construction of canals for the inlet and discharge of aquaculture water near mangrove areas.
        Applicants must provide the following documentation:
        • The final draft of the project.
        • The Environmental Impact Study (the evaluation of which includes a public hearing with local communities and authorities).
        • The Environmental Mitigation and Remedy Programme.
        On top of this, a bank guarantee for the amount of ten minimum wages per hectare is required for compensation purposes. Local communities are exempted from this obligation. The concession shall be issued no later than 60 days from the application, filed with the Regional Forestry District (Distrito Regional Forestal).
        It is noteworthy to mention that the Bill on the Mangrove Ecosystem Conservation  , which is currently underway, establishes a concession system for the cultivation of local aquatic species. The procedure is managed by the Ministry of the Environment, jointly with the National Council for the Administration of the Mangrove Ecosystem, CONADEM (Consejo Nacional de Administración del Ecosistema Manglar), and leads to the granting of a minimum 20-year concession. Only non-profit ancestral local communities and organizations with legal personality may apply.

        The Water Law (Ley de Aguas) (1972, as amended) establishes that the use of water resources is subject to the granting of a concession by the National Institute for Water Resources (Instituto Ecuatoriano de Recursos Hidráulicos). The Law lists three different kinds of water use (occasional, over spare resources; fixed-term, for irrigation, industrial use and other productive activities; continuing, for domestic use), but does not detail specific procedures for aquaculture.
        EIA
        The Consolidated Text of the Secondary Legislation issued by the Ministry of Environment regulates the Global Environmental Management System (SUMA – Sistema Único de Manejo Ambiental) established by the Environmental Management Law (Ley de Gestión Ambiental) (1999), including an Environmental Impact Assessment sub-system. Each applicant shall identify the responsible environmental authority (AAAr – autoridad ambiental de aplicación responsable), based on the technical rules issued by the Ministry of the Environment. The AAAr will lead the procedure and ensure inter-institutional coordination. No specific reference is made to aquaculture in these laws. However, the Environmental Management Law establishes that any activity entailing environmental risks is subject to environmental licensing.

        The only specific provisions concerning aquaculture are found in the General Regulation to the Fisheries and Fisheries Development Law, which provides that the granting of authorizations for aquaculture in highlands, exploiting groundwater sources, is subject to the submission of an Environment Impact Study to the Environmental Management Commission (Comisión de Gestión Ambiental), delegated by the Ministry of the Environment (Ministerio del Ambiente).

        The Study must be prepared consistent with the following guidelines:
        1. Presentation of the study (premises; objectives; scope; methodology; legal framework).
        2. Description of the project (structural; operational; technical management).
        3. Identification of the area of influence.
        4. Environmental baseline (characterization of the physical, biotic and socio-economic and cultural environment).
        5. Detailed description of the alternative options to the project.
        6. Comparison and environmental assessment of the alternative options (including option zero or no project alternative).
        7. Environmental selection of the best option.
        8. Identification and assessment of the environmental impact of the selected option.
        9. Impact mitigation plan (measures of removal, mitigation, prevention, monitoring and follow-up, rehabilitation and compensation, control and disposal of waste, promotion, environmental education, contingency).
        10. Environmental Management Plan.
        11. Conclusions and recommendations.
        12. Bibliographical references.
        13. Annexes, plans and photographs.
        14. Professional expert that drafted the study and is accountable for it.
        15. Executive summary of the study.
        Following the approval of the Environmental Impact Study, an environmental licence shall be issued by the Ministry of the Environment within seven days from the application. Applicants shall subscribe an annual insurance for the amount of 3 000 USD for each hectare of productive land.
        Operation
        Water and wastewater
        The Consolidated Text of the Secondary Legislation issued by the Ministry of the Environment creates the Inter-institutional Coordination and Cooperation Committee for Waste Management (Comité de Coordinación y Cooperación Interinstitucional para la Gestión de Residuos) with a view to optimizing the management of all types of waste matter. The Ministry of Foreign Commerce, Industrialization, Fisheries and Competitiveness and the Ministry of the Environment are members of the Committee.

        No specific provision is made with regard to aquaculture, which is thus subject to the general legislation concerning the matter. The permit to discharge effluents and waste is granted upon approval of the Environmental Management Plan, attached to the Environmental Impact Study, and payment of the relevant rights in relation to a specific aquaculture development.
        Fish movement
        The Consolidated Text of the Secondary Legislation issued by the Ministry of the Environment regulates the movement of wild fauna, which applies also to aquatic resources. The import of wild species is governed by the precautionary principle and is subject to an authorization issued by the Ministry of the Environment upon the filing of an application, accompanied by an environmental impact assessment. Said Ministry shall authorize the export of aquatic species for commercial purposes only where the applicant can prove that the species come from authorized centres.

        Concerning Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), a National Biosafety Commission (Comisión Nacional de Bioseguridad) has been established. The authority, which is attached to the Ministry of the Environment, is in charge among other things of advising the Ministry in the granting or denial of authorizations of any activity concerning GMOs and derived products.
        Disease control
        The matter is regulated by the Animal Health Law (Ley de Sanidad Animal) (1981) and its Regulation (1996). The Ecuadorian Service for Animals and Plants Health (Servicio Ecuatoriano de Sanidad Agropecuaria – SESA), attached to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, is the competent authority. No specific rules were found on aquaculture.
        Drugs
        The General Regulation implementing the Fisheries and Fisheries Development Law sets restrictions on the use of veterinary drugs in aquaculture activities. The Directorate General for Fisheries and the National Institute for Fisheries coordinate their efforts with health, environment and local authorities to carry out the necessary controls and ensure compliance. The National Institute for Fisheries keeps a unified register for authorized veterinary products.

        Only the import of veterinary products considered suitable for aquaculture activities in the country of origin is authorized by the National Institute for Fisheries. Correspondingly, the import of any product proscribed by national or international public health authorities is forbidden. Imported products must come from authorized establishments and be accompanied by an abstract of the corresponding health register.

        The use of chloranphenicol in aquaculture is prohibited. Accordingly, before export, the National Institute for Fisheries carries out appropriate analyses and issues the related certificate stating the absence of the said substance.
        Feed
        The General Regulation implementing the Fisheries and Fisheries Development Law establishes that fish and shrimp flour may only be made of excess parts and scraps resulting from the processing of resources intended for direct human consumption and of species that are not fit for such consumption. The Under Secretariat for Fisheries determines, on an annual basis, the capture percentages of living aquatic resources for the production of fish and shrimp flour. The use of River Herrings (Alwives) for this purpose is proscribed.

        Since 1981, a ministerial decree prohibited the establishment of new fish flour processing plants, reserving this business to authorized fishing companies producing food for direct human consumption as a main activity.
        Food safety
        The main authorities in charge of fish products safety are the Directorate General for Fisheries and the National Institute for Fisheries. The latter has the power to issue quality certifications and the former subsequently authorizes their commercialization. The requirements to be met by fish and fishery products, including aquaculture products, and the procedures to obtain quality certifications are established by the Ecuadorian Institute for Standardization (Instituto Ecuatoriano de Normalización), in coordination with the National Institute for Fisheries.

        Fish processing plants must comply with the requirements set by the General Regulation implementing the Fisheries and Fisheries Development Law (such as, to be located in authorized areas  , equipped with appropriate implements and facilities, have waterproof and inclined floors, etc...). The Directorate General for Fisheries periodically checks the state of the equipment and facilities.
        With regard to fish products packing companies, the Regulation requires them to notify their production to the Directorate General for Fisheries and to the National Institute for Fisheries. Processing companies may provide aquaculture establishments with copacking services. Currently, this option only concerns shrimp products. It is however deemed to be extended to other species (Resolution No.1 of 1998).

        The Regulations on the Verification Processes according to the HACCP Principles for the Importer of Fish Products (Regulaciones para los Procesos de Verificación de Importador de Productos Pesqueros Elaborados bajo los Principios HACCP) (2000) establish that processing companies have to undergo an audit or verification at least once a year. Companies must apply to the Under Secretariat for Fishery Resources in order to be assigned to either the National Institute for Fisheries or a private auditing company authorized by the Under Secretariat. The Certification will be issued by the National Institute for Fisheries, in line with the verification or auditing reports.

        The verification or auditing process and the report provide the following information:
        • Name and head office of the company.
        • Date of the verification or auditing.
        • Duration of the verification or auditing or codes of the production batches.
        • Quantity and type of products submitted to the verification process.
        • Critical check points verified.
        • Verification of compliance with the Code of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and with the Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOP).
        Miscellaneous
        Granting of benefits
        The Fisheries and Fisheries Development Law and its Regulation provide for a three-tier classification system that allows companies working in the fishing industry (capture, aquaculture, processing and trade) to enjoy general and specific financial benefits (generally, tax deduction and exemption from payment of taxes and rights). The first category, identified as "Special?, includes those international, national and mixed companies which contribute significantly to the development of the country. The second category, named "A", embraces national or mixed companies which give a significant contribution to the development of the sector. The third and last category, entitled "B", only takes account of companies dealing with internal trade.
        References
        Legislation
        Animal Health Law (Ley de Sanidad Animal) (1981)
        General Regulation to the Animal Health Law (Reglamento General a la Ley de Sanidad Animal) (1996)
        Bill on the Mangrove Ecosystem Conservation (Proyecto de Ley de Conservación del Ecosistema Manglar) (2003)
        Convention for the Cooperation between Peru and Ecuador on Fisheries and Aquaculture (Convenio marco de cooperación pesquera y acuícola entre la República del Perú y la República del Ecuador) (2001)
        Decree No.2.026 creating the National Institute for Fisheries (Decreto Supremo No.2.026 que crea el Instituto Nacional de Pesca) (07.12.1977)
        Decree No.218 – Regulation on the National Institute for Fisheries (Decreto No.218 – Reglamento del Instituto Nacional de Pesca) (22.08.1995)
        Consolidated Text of the Secondary Legislation issued by the Ministry of the Environment (Texto Unificado de la Legislación Secundaria del Ministerio del Ambiente) (2002)
        Fisheries and Fisheries Development Law (Ley de Pesca y Desarrollo Pesquero) (1974, as atended, in particular by Decree-Law No.3 of 1985)
        General Regulation to the Fisheries and Fisheries Development Law (Reglamento General a la Ley de Pesca y Desarrollo Pesquero) (Oct., 2002)
        Law reforming the Fisheries and Fisheries Development Law (Ley Reformatoria de la Ley de Pesca y Desarrollo Pesquero) (1985)
        Related resources
        National Centre for Aquaculture and Marine Research (Centro Nacional de Acuicultura e Investigaciones Marinas) (CENAIM)
        National Chamber of Aquaculture (Cámara Nacional de Acuacultura)
        Ministry of Foreign Commerce, Industrialization, Fisheries and Competitiveness (Ministerio de Comercio Exterior, Industrialización, Pesca y Competitividad)
        Ministry of National Defence (Ministerio de Defensa Nacional)
        Ecuadorian Service for Animals and Plants Health (Servicio Ecuatoriano de Sanidad Agropecuaria – SESA)
        Under Secretariat for Fishery Resources (Subsecretería de Recursos Pesqueros)
        Related links
        Country profiles: Ecuador
         
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