Chinese distant-water firm to build fishing base in Ecuador

Published on
December 17, 2020

A Chinese distant-water fishing firm has signed an agreement to build a fisheries base in Ecuador, despite tensions between the two countries this summer after a Chinese squid fleet encroached on the country’s waters.

China Ocean Group Development Co. has signed a memorandum of understanding with Mercado Común Del Sur (Mercosur) to build a pelagic fishery base in Ecuador. China Ocean Development Group Chairman Liu Rongsheng was joined by a number of other corporate executives, government officials, researchers, and retired diplomats at the official signing ceremony at the Sheraton hotel in Shenzhen.

Also present was Paul Penaherrera, Ecuador’s commercial counselor in Guangzhou, who also heads the local office of export promotion agency Pro Ecuador, as well as executives from the China Distant-Water Fishing Association, whose members include some of the fishing companies operate squid-fishing vessels in the Southern Atlantic. Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno protested their actions this summer, when a fleet of some 260 fishing ships, most Chinese-flagged, spent around a month fishing in international waters just outside a 188-mile wide exclusive economic zone around Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands.

The heads of two Chinese state-run think tanks, the Belt and Road International Cooperation Development (Shenzhen) Research Institute and the China World Trade Research Institute – operated through China’s Commerce Ministry – also attended the signing.

Another attendee at the signing ceremony was Liang Haishan, secretary general of the Chinese-run organization Alliance Mercosur Camara Internacional. Two other Chinese business clubs were also represented: the Global CEO Club and the Global Investment Group.

Formerly known as China Ocean Fishing Holdings, China Ocean Group Development Co. in 2015 announced it was expanding operations in Cambodia and Mozambique. It commissioned the construction of 30 vessels from the Hong Kong-based Kai De Group, with the first vessels delivered in early 2019 to a subsidiary, Golden Thai Marine Products Group Ltd, according to a filing to investors.

The company’s structure – it is listed in Hong Kong and registered offshore – means it does not to come under mainland China’s pledged effort to limit the size of its fleet.

Photo courtesy of China Ocean Group Development Co.

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