Article 103 of the Water Law will be reviewed following an agreement struck between shrimp producers and Assembly members. (Photo: Stock File)
Shrimp producers up in arms over sea-water payment plan
Wednesday, April 14, 2010, 03:00 (GMT + 9)
Shrimp producers reached an agreement with the members of the Food Sovereignty Commission of the National Assembly, citing that Article 103 of the Water Law be reviewed. The law forces shrimp producers to pay for the use of sea water in bioaquatic production activities.
When communicating the news to the sector, the president of the Chamber of Shrimp Producers of the province of El Oro, Segundo Calderon, said that “the irregularity, the ignorance of those who drafted Article 103 of the Water Law” was made evident.
"Having a prohibition on the use of sea water would be the last straw because it is the medium where shrimp is developed. The assembly members fully accepted that this article must change and cannot be finished with a sector that for many years has generated foreign revenue and work,” he continued saying.
According to the union leader, the members of the National Assembly were committed to rectifying the regulation on 25 April, Diario Correo reports.
The activities set forth in the article are the breeding and farming of bio-aquatic species that are based in beach and bay zones, in the areas of mangrove swamps and salt mines.
The representatives of shrimp farmers of the provinces of Guayas, Manabi, El Oro, Esmeraldas and Pedernales also lobbied for the tax, tribute or rate on sea water to be deemed null and void as well as the prohibition on using it.
The shrimp producers, represented by Cesar Monge, president of the National Aquaculture Chamber (CNA), argued that sea water is a renewable and abundant resource, which is why they contend the tariff payment is illogical.
The National Secretary of Water, Jorge Jurado, insists that shrimp farmers should indeed pay a tariff for the use of sea water in the development of this activity, just as other sectors of the country, like trout breeding, do.
“The volumetric tariff is a fundamental topic. At present gratuitous sectors exist, but sectors that target trout, tilapia breeding also exist, that pay for water consumption,” the official said.
"Why does a large sector like shrimp farming not pay. They take water from a fragile area of the coastal marine strip, where marine life reproduces, unloading waters that would not allow that life [to exist],” he explained.
In addition, he emphasised that the old concessions that are situated in the beach and bay zones should not be reviewed and will have access to water, since Article 103 of the Law applies only to new applications, EcuadorInmediato.com reports.
In other news, the occupants of more than 7,000 hectares of shrimp production that operate illegally will be evacuated once the administrative proceedings that began yesterday conclude with the corresponding notifications. Thus informed the director of
the National Directorate of Aquatic Spaces (DIRNEA), Jaime Ayala.
According to that government entity, which took part in the regularisation of the shrimp farming sector, there are 234 estates in the country that together occupy 3,047 hectares, unauthorised for the development of the activity.
- Evacuation of illegal shrimp farms begins
By Analia Murias