The Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (WMSL 750) coordinated with the Ecuadorian navy, competing a joint patrol in order to detect and deter the potential Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in the vicinity of the Galapagos Islands.
The Bertholf patrolled over 3,000 square nautical miles from Aug. 25-29 in Ecuadorian and international waters. They conducted joint operations with the Ecuadorian naval vessel LAE Isla San Cristobal (LG-30). They provided persistent presence and surveillance of fishing activity throughout the region.
The information gathered during the operation was shared with Ecuador to strengthen future compliance efforts, while gaining greater shared awareness of potential IUU fishing activity.
This joint operation highlights the significant Coast Guard partnership with a South American country to detect, deter and ensure adherence to international maritime norms for fishing.
“It was a unique opportunity to sail together with the Ecuadorian navy, and we were impressed by their professionalism and dedication to the fight against illegal fishing, This joint operation demonstrates the effectiveness and importance of our international partnerships.” said Capt. Brian Anderson, Bertholf’s commanding officer.
Each year, up to 27 million tons of fish are caught illegally. This accounts for 20-30% of the total global annual catch. The economic losses from IUU fishing are estimated to be as much as $23.5 billion each year.
IUU fishing is a global security, economic, and environmental threat and it undermines national sovereignty, while weakening the international rules-based order.
The Pacific Area Commander, Vice Adm. Linda Fagan remarked:
“The United States remains committed to the international effort to combat IUU fishing and the illegal exploitation of the ocean’s fish stocks. The U.S. Coast Guard will continue to safeguard our national interests and build lasting international partnerships that promote the rule of law and sovereignty for all nations.”