I came across this story yesterday about the ecological impact of the 17,000-strong Chinese fishing fleet which travels the world’s oceans harvesting fully 20% of all the resources extracted via fishing by the entire world.
It reminded me of the Tom Cruise movie “Oblivion,” where an alien species has destroyed the Earth and most of its population so it could suck up all the water in the oceans for its own uses. Only this isn’t a movie, and the “alien” species are, in fact, the Chinese Communist Party and its state-subsidized fleet of fishing vessels which spend months at a time traveling from place to place around the oceans of the world, satisfying the rapacious appetite of the Chinese Communists to convert to their own purposes anything not nailed down or belonging to others — for the most part.
The story describes how the Chinese fishing fleet operates in accordance with international law — but just barely. Hundreds of vessels will take up a position in international waters just outside the territorial waters of some countries, and simply fish the area until there are no more fish to be taken. The flotilla includes all manner of fishing vessels — trawlers, long-line boats, bottom draggers, refueling vessels, repair vessels, processing ships — whatever a fleet might need to remain at sea and harvesting fish for months at a time without needing to return to China.
The story describes in some detail the fleet’s exploitation of the waters and fisheries just outside the Ecuadorian Exclusive Economic Zone encompassing the Galapagos Islands, one of the richest and most diverse sources of fish stocks anywhere in the world. The size of the fishing fleet deployed to the area is bigger than the number of vessels in the Navies of Ecuador, Peru, and Chile combined.
The size of China’s “distant fishing fleet” is disputed — the Chinese claim only 2,500 vessels fit the description, but other sources place the number as high as 17,000. By comparison, the United States has only 300 “distant fishing fleet” vessels.
The Chinese consume over 35% of all fish taken from the ocean, and the Chinese fleet catches over 20% of all fish taken from the ocean.
While the fleet is ostensibly complying with international law while it is under observation, that is not the same as saying that the Chinese fleet always adheres to international law in its actions.
The fleet is routinely found to be violating the law, targeting endangered shark species, falsifying licenses and documentation, as well as committing human rights abuses onboard its vessels.
And while United Nations maritime law mandates that fishing vessels are required to use a transponder to transmit their location at all times, Mr Urbina said many vessels deliberately switched them off.
“Some of them are going dark for short periods, and what they’re doing in those periods is unknown.”
The story goes on to describe how China is deploying the fishing fleet to assert its control over areas of the South China Sea that are currently considered international waters.
In addition, it’s using fishing fleet “colonialism” — my phrase — in the form of buying territorial fishing rights from poor countries along the coasts of Africa and then fishing out the local fisheries for the benefit of Chinese consumers. Ghana is a nation that is being particularly hard hit, where a significant portion of the Ghanese who live along the coastline rely on the ocean for their livelihoods.
“Chinese companies are using small Ghanaian front companies with only a handful of employees and very little capital,” he said.
“Our research suggests they’re Chinese trawlers, with Chinese captains.”
…. [O]ne trawler can land up to 26 tonnes of fish in a day, the equivalent of what 400 local canoes could haul.
The damage China’s boats are causing is staggering: the income for artisanal fishermen in Ghana — people who rely on fishing for subsistence and local trade — has nearly halved since the turn of the century….
The story also describes how the Chinese fishing fleet is assisting North Korea in evading international sanctions. Chinse fishing companies purchase fishing permits that are in the hands of North Korean fishing companies, and large numbers of Chinese vessels then fish the waters within the territorial limits of North Korea’s shoreline. This generates hard currency revenue for the North Korean government, but the damage done to North Korea’s near-shore fisheries is so bad that North Korean fishing boats have to travel farther out into the ocean to find fish to catch themselves, going as far as to fish in Russian waters.
“Approximately 900 fishing boats originating from China were transiting through South Korean waters into North Korea, and were engaging in large-scale industrial fishing,”
In the process, small-scale fishermen in North Korea were likely finding it much harder to get fish, and were needing to sail farther afield for their catches — hence the appearance of “ghost ships” along Japan’s coast.
Dr Hanich’s team also identified nearly 3,000 North Korean boats illegally fishing in Russian waters across 2017 and 2018.
“[The Chinese fishing boats] are effectively displacing all the small scale North Korean artisanal fishermen who can’t compete,” he said.
Where are all the advocates for “sustainability” and the Green New Deal? Why aren’t there marches taking place protesting the destruction being done to the world’s ocean habitats and fisheries by the Chinese fishing fleet? Whether and to what extent “global warming” exists, the degree to which is caused by man, and what if anything might work to correct the problem are all matters of scientific dispute, no matter how much the left-wing crazies want to claim that is not true.
But what China is doing to the oceans’ fisheries all around the world is not a matter of debate, and the CCP is doing it in front of the entire world.
Come on, AOC and Greta — tell us all the great plans you have to beat back the Chinese “aliens,” like Tom Cruise beat back the aliens taking the oceans’ waters for themselves.
But this isn’t a movie. If you want to be taken seriously, then speak up and make yourself heard on an unfolding disaster that is taking place in the open for all to see.