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Cablegate: Colombia Institutes Tuna Moratorium; Pledges New

VZCZCXRO5036
PP RUEHPB
DE RUEHBO #2902 2192130
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 062130Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4081
INFO RUEHBE/AMEMBASSY BELMOPAN 0090
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0822
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ 9596
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RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 0361
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RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 2528
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RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1348
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY 0001
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 7133
RUEHSJ/AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE 5026
RUEHSN/AMEMBASSY SAN SALVADOR 2139
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0618
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1240
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL 4532
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 0118

UNCLAS BOGOTA 002902

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EFIS PHSA SENV CO
SUBJECT: COLOMBIA INSTITUTES TUNA MORATORIUM; PLEDGES NEW
IATTC TACT

REF: STATE 77701


1. (U) On July 22 the Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario
(ICA), Colombia's lead agency for fishing-related issues,
published resolution 002557 creating a moratorium-period on
tuna fishing from July 22 to December 31. Luisa Maldonado,
the marine biologist who drafted the resolution, told Econoff
that Colombia's largest tuna fishing boats, which account for
over 90 percent of the country's annual 50,000 plus tuna
catch, must choose a continuous 49 days during the
moratorium-period during which they will not fish. Smaller
boats must chose a continuous 30 days during which they will
not fish. Foreign-flag boats licensed to fish in Colombian
waters must abide by their own countries' tuna moratoriums.


2. (SBU) ICA Director-General Andres Valencia publicly
stated that ICA issued the resolution in accordance with the
recent decision by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna
Commission (IATTC) to allow each member country to
unilaterally determine when it would suspend tuna fishing in
its waters. Martha De La Pava, ICA's Director of Fishing and
Aquaculture, gave Econoff a more nuanced explanation. De La
Pava said ICA, the Ministry of the Environment, Housing and
Territorial Development (MinEnv), and the Ministry of
Agriculture and Rural Development (MinAg) were furious at the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) for having excluded them
from the June IATTC meeting and, more importantly, from
having prevented a consensus position on conservation and
management measures for tuna stocks (reftel).

3. (SBU) De La Pava admitted the resolution was not
perfect: rather than creating a simultaneous closure of the
entire fleet it allowed fishing companies to choose their own
down-time thus weakening the impact (since they would have to
take down-time anyway for maintenance, unloading, etc.)
However, she argued that because the down-time must be for a
"continuous" period the resolution will still have a positive
impact since boats do not need 49 continuous days for
maintenance, unloading, etc. (and they will still need to do
those functions during the period they fish).

4. (SBU) De La Pava described the resolution as a partial
win, taken after three weeks of "in your face," 12-hour days
negotiating with the MFA and fishing industry
representatives. More importantly, she called it a temporary
measure, and said the GOC had reached tentative agreement
that ICA, the MinEnv and the MinAg would attend the October
IATTC meeting, and that Colombia would agree to a
simultaneous fishery closure for all boats for the next
fishing season.

5. (SBU) Comment. The MFA has been blistered by the
Ministries of Agriculture and Environment, as well by NGOs,
for its IATTC performance in Panama. The message has
appeared to have gotten through, helped in part by a new
Foreign Minister having taken office in the interim. Post
will make the formal demarche requested reftel to MFA
Vice-Minister Camilo Reyes next week. At that point we hope
to confirm that De La Pava's representation of a shift of GOC
posture has indeed taken place and that we can expect a
different GOC approach in La Jolla.


BROWNFIELD

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