'The implementation of carefully planned strategies and collaboration between the public and private sectors are essential...'
Alarming levels of insecurity in the shrimp sector
Thursday, November 30, 2023, 07:00 (GMT + 9)
Insecurity has become a cause of deep concern for the shrimp sector. According to figures collected by the Security Directorate of the National Chamber of Aquaculture (CNA), from January to the end of November 2023, a total of 76 criminal incidents have been recorded, resulting in 58 people injured and four fatalities.
However, these statistics could underestimate the true magnitude of the problem, since it is estimated that only 30% of the incidents are reported, that is, for every criminal incident that the CNA records, there are at least two more that are not reported. for fear of reprisals and also for the distrust generated by the administrators of justice, since despite there being sufficient evidence of the crime, in some cases, they dictate alternative measures.
Criminal groups, increasingly bolder, have intensified their actions, raiding productive properties, intercepting workers in transit and perpetrating acts of violence with the aim of expanding their territorial control and sowing fear. Currently, these criminal organizations are intimidating the security teams responsible for protecting the sector to undermine their operations. They use tactics such as threats, extortion and even carrying out attacks.
The environment of insecurity has led the Ecuadorian shrimp sector to make an annual investment of more than 80 million dollars in security measures. This investment ranges from the hiring of guards operating on rotating shifts to the implementation of advanced video surveillance systems, enhanced with artificial intelligence and satellite tracking technology. But, despite the effort and high investment, the fight against crime seems far from being won.
The growing insecurity in the Ecuadorian shrimp sector has prompted the National Chamber of Aquaculture to establish a security table to respond to alerts in the Gulf of Guayaquil and the Jambelí Archipelago, evidencing the urgency of collaborative government action to counter violence. However, the government has not given way to the CNA proposal for reforms to the weapons regulations, with the purpose of empowering security companies to carry long-range weapons, given that crime uses increasingly sophisticated weapons.
The insecurity that the sector is experiencing is not only reflected in the worrying figures, but also has consequences beyond the numbers. Insecurity is generating internal commotion in the country. It has caused workers not to want to go to their workplaces, affecting crucial areas such as production and other links in the chain.
Given this situation, it becomes imperative that the new government of President Daniel Noboa adopt urgent and effective measures. The CNA makes an urgent call to seek international help to confront crime, which is affecting the shrimp sector, other branches of production and commerce, as well as citizens. The implementation of carefully planned strategies and collaboration between the public and private sectors are essential to restore the country's security, as a priority issue to address.