On October 5 2023, The Constitutional Court of Ecuador denied a Presidential proposal to grant property rights of 65 000 hectares of beach area to industrial shrimp farmers, referencing the rights of Nature in its verdict. Even though this was not a rights of nature case (because it addressed another matter), the Court partly based its decision on the rights of nature, recalling the constitutional rights of nature to exist, and to regenerate (Sections. 182-188 of verdict, pg. 44-45).
In Ecuador, beach areas are defined as areas of public use and public domain (bienes públicos). The Presidential proposal argued that beach and bay areas that have “lost marine influence” should no longer be regarded as bienes públicos and be re-allocated to shrimp farmers.
The Constitutional Court invited people and organizations to present amici curiae briefs regarding the case. Nature’s right of restoration was argued before the Court, recalling the rights of nature precedent established in the Los Cedros and the Mangroves cases, where the Court raised the need for special protection of these ecosystems.
The Constitutional Court denied the Presidential proposal, stating that many people depend upon the beach areas, not just the shrimp industry. By doing so, the Court opened the door for future juridical debate on restoration of nature/recuperation of degraded areas.