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.
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).
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.
Applications shall be filed with the Directorate General for Fisheries, with the following supporting documentation:
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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)
Resolución No.24 - Estructura y Estatuto Orgánico por Procesos del Instituto Nacional de Pesca (15.12.2003)
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)
Acuerdo No.768 que Prohíbe la Instalación de Nuevas Plantas Procesadoras de Harina de Pescado (1981)
Acuerdo No.253 que autoriza la Importación de Especímenes de Reproductores y Nauplios de Camarón de la Especie Litopenaeus vannamei (2000, as amended for deadline extension)
Acuerdo No.138 – Condiciones para Autorizar el Ejercicio de la Actividad de Cría y Cultivo de Especies Bioacuáticas (Nov., 2002)
Acuerdo No.152 que Prohíbe la Concesión de Zonas de Playa y Bahía para el Ejercicio de la Actividad de Cría y Cultivo de Especies Bioacuáticas (Dec., 2002)
Acuerdo No.104 - Normas para el Establecimiento y Operación de laboratorios de Producción de Especies Bioacuáticas (2004)
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)
Procesos de Verificación de Importador de Productos Pesqueros Elaborados bajo los Principios HACCP (2000)
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)