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  • China's vast commercial fishing fleet

  • Plunders the oceans

  • And wrecks local economies

  • And it's all part of the plan

  • Welcome to China Uncensored, I'm Chris Chappell.

  • This episode is sponsored by MOVA Globes.

  • These are really amazing globes that spin on their ownwithout cords or batteries.

  • And whether you get this Black and Silver model...

  • ...or one of the other great world map designsyou can appreciate the beauty of continents and

  • the vastness of the oceans.

  • Ocean life is essential to the ecology of the planet.

  • Unfortunately, humanity has been destroying the oceansand one of the big culprits is

  • overfishing from commercial vessels.

  • No country understands this better than China.

  • China has fishing vessels spread across the world.

  • Not just in the South China Sea, but also in Africa and South America.

  • And China is truly number one

  • ...on the index of Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated fishing.

  • This is from the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime.

  • China is also number one in that its distant-water fishing fleet is by far the largest in the

  • worldwith an estimated 17,000 vessels, according to the British Overseas Development

  • Institute.

  • And at least 183 vessels in China's fleet are suspected of involvement in Illegal, Unreported,

  • and Unregulated fishing.

  • And that's just the ones we know about.

  • It's extremely hard to track and monitor what China's fishing fleet is doing globally.

  • They often turn off transponders.

  • They don't fill out mandated log records.

  • They create fake joint ventures with local boats.

  • . Or they fly another country's flagcalled a “flag of convenience”.

  • What I'm saying is that the Chinese Communist Party has Fish Pirates.

  • No, not like that.

  • Actually, in some ways, it's more like a fish mafia.

  • Because China's commercial fishing in a lot of parts of the world amounts to organized

  • crime.

  • It dominates fishing off the coast of many developing countries, stripping locals of

  • their economic livelihood.

  • The trail of environmental destrustruction in its wake...is just a bonus.

  • Here are just a few examples.

  • In the African country of Mozambique,

  • locals have relied on fishing to survive for centuries.

  • But now, Chinese commercial boats are dominating.

  • In 2017, the Chinese effectively took over a major port, doubling its capacity so it

  • could accommodate over 100 trawlers.

  • You might think, great, Chinese investment is expanding local fishing capacity!

  • But they're not doing it for the locals.

  • Since 2017, Chinese trawlers have caught more than 60,000 tons of fish a year in the area.

  • This extreme overfishing depletes the adult fish, so there aren't as many fish born

  • the next season.

  • On top of that, trawlers wreck the sea bed, making it harder to support the ecosystem

  • that fish need.

  • Chinese boats in Mozambique have simply pillaged the waters.

  • Local fisherman are seeing their fish stocks dwindle.

  • Why is the leadership of Mozambique allowing Chinese ships to do this?

  • It's hard to say.

  • In unrelated news, Mozambique's president has been caught up in a massive corruption

  • scandalinvolving 2 billion dollars that was supposed to pay for a coastal-protection

  • system and a local fishing fleet.

  • More after the break.

  • Welcome back.

  • Let's move on to The Gambia.

  • That's right, it's called THE Gambia.

  • Ian Urbina , director of The Outlaw Ocean Project , joined a team that was inspecting

  • potential illegal fishing off the Gambian coast.

  • They boarded this Chinese trawler.

  • It had 7 Chinese officers on board, plus a crew of 39—all Africans, most of them below

  • deck on a dirty, cramped production line.

  • The Gambian Navy lieutenant he was with discovered the Chinese ship's fishing log book was

  • blank.

  • All captains are required to keep records of where they go, how long they work, what

  • gear they use, and what they catch.

  • Not having those records makes it harder for scientists to survey fish stocks.

  • Also in the Gambia, a microbiologist found in 2017 that Golden Lead, a Chinese-owned

  • fishmeal plant, was dumping waste into this local lagoon.

  • Which, by the way, is not supposed to be this color.

  • The water [in the lagoon] contained double the amount of arsenic and 40 times the amount

  • of phosphates and nitrates deemed safe.”

  • Similar problems are happening in neighboring Senegal.

  • The state-owned China National Fisheries Companyjointlyowns 12 Senegalese-flagged vessels

  • but in fact owns 100% of the shares.

  • That suggests China takes home the majority of the profits.

  • But it's not just about sucking out profit.

  • It's about illegal activities depleting fish stocks.

  • Andfailing to hold true owners to account prevents the dismantling of networks behind

  • illegal fishing operations.”

  • Over in Ghana

  • Chinese companies have manipulated records by using local front companies to get fishing

  • licenses.

  • Ghanaian law requires that all trawlers operating in its waters are owned by Ghanaians,

  • but right now there are more than 100 Chinese trawlers plundering waters normally fished

  • by local boats.”

  • Each Chinese trawler can catch up to 26 tons of fish in a day.

  • That's 400 times more than a local boat can bring in.

  • According to the Environmental Justice Foundation, at least 90% of the trawler fleet in Ghana's

  • waters is actually Chinese-owned.

  • This is despite the fact that Ghana forbids foreign ownership of trawlers.

  • Surely local officials know what's going on.

  • So why aren't they stopping it?

  • It's hard to say.

  • In unrelated news, Ghana loses 3 billion dollars to corruption each year.

  • Over in Latin America, it's not much better.

  • China is rapidly expanding its maritime presence there.

  • Back in 2001, there were only 22 Chinese squid fishing vessels in the region.

  • By 2019 there were more than 500.

  • You'd be surprised at how many people really want to eat squid.

  • China's South Atlantic fishing fleet is based in Montevideo, the capital and main

  • port of Uruguay.

  • According to Milko Schvartzman of Greenpeace , “absolutely no real controls are made

  • of any foreign fishing boatthere.

  • And “[China] effectively created a... pirate port in Montevideo.”

  • Again, they're not the fun kind of pirates.

  • They're the kind that destroys local fish habitats and sometimes enslaves their crew.

  • To get more squid.

  • Now let's look at Peru.

  • The president of the Humboldt Squid Committee of the South Pacific estimatesthat the

  • Chinese fleet may be illegally fishing 50,000 tonnes of [squid] in Peruvian waters every

  • year.”

  • This represents 85 million US dollars a year.

  • Of squid.

  • People really love squid.

  • But just wait till we get to Chinese fishing in the Galápagos Islands.

  • More after the break.

  • Welcome back.

  • Off the coast of Ecuador lie the Galápagos Islandsfamously visited by Charles Darwin

  • nearly 200 years ago.

  • The area is home to rich and unique sea life.

  • That's why Ecuador designated the area a protected marine reserve in 1998.

  • But to unscrupulous Chinese fishing companies, it's a bonanza!

  • Last year, an armada of more than 300 Chinese vessels was caught plundering the waters around

  • the Galápagos.

  • Ecuador said that almost half of the vessels turned off their transponders.

  • What were they fishing?

  • You guessed it.

  • Squid.

  • Chinese fishermen also love catching sharksjust for the fins that get used in soup.

  • Back in 2017, the Ecuadorian Navy stopped a Chinese ship carrying more than 5,000 sharks,

  • including newborns and endangered species.

  • In 2020, authorities in Hong Kong seized 26 tons of shark fins from Ecuador, equivalent

  • to thirty-eight and a half thousand sharks.

  • Now that all sounds pretty bad.

  • But don't worry, because according to Reuters, “China has promised a 'zero tolerance'

  • policy toward illegal fishing.”

  • Which sounds good.

  • Because around the world, “China's fishing fleet appears engaged, often illegally, in

  • the effort to haul in as much seafood as it can, as fast as it can, in as many places

  • as it canwith little regard for how its practices affect malnourished people or diminish

  • the stocks of their fish.”

  • But the Chinese government's 'zero tolerance' policy is actually a lie.

  • What a surprise.

  • In fact, it's a worse lie than you think it is.

  • Because all this global illegal fishing is not simply the Chinese government's negligence,

  • or refusing to crack down on it.

  • No, the Chinese government is specifically backing it.

  • It is government policy, because most vessels are in effect paid to fish by the Chinese

  • government, which covers the fleet's main operating expense: fuel.”

  • China spends 5.9 billion dollars each year subsidizing fuel.

  • That's about 347,000 dollars per vessel per year, far more than any other major fishing

  • country.”

  • To put that into perspective, “European Union vessels, also considered highly subsidized,

  • receive only about 23,000 dollars a year.”

  • So why is the Chinese government subsidizing all of this illegal and environmentally destructive

  • fishing?

  • Is it because Xi Jinping is auditioning for the role of evil villian in the next Captain

  • Planet reboot?

  • Maybe.

  • But there are othermore likelyreasons, too.

  • One is, China needs seafood.

  • China already consumes more seafood than any other country, and it's on track to consume

  • 38% of all global fish by 2030.

  • China's own coastal waters were once the richest in the world.

  • Now, they've been depleted by more than 85% after decades of overfishing.

  • But the Chinese Communist Party also has a political reason for these distant-water fishing

  • fleets: to establish its maritime claims.

  • Especially in the South China Sea.

  • For the Chinese fishing vessels in those disputed waters, some of them are normal, subsidized

  • fishermen.

  • But others are part of China's maritime militia, “which means they never fishthey

  • just use fishing boats to monitor other fleets, run supplies, or ram other boats.”

  • That's certainly what's happening in places like the Spratly Islands.

  • We covered that in this recent episode of China Uncensored.

  • Chinese fishing boats there are just occupying territory until the military can build another

  • island.

  • Is that what's happening in other parts of the world?

  • No.

  • Or at least...not yet.

  • For now, they're just depleting fish populations, impoverishing local economies, and destroying

  • ecosystems for decades to come.

  • China is certainly not the only country involved in damaging and illegal commercial fishing.

  • But it's by far the biggest, with the most wide-ranging economic and environmental impact.

  • Like I said, China number one.

  • So as you celebrate Earth Day this week, let people know what the Chinese Communist Party

  • is doingso we can protect our oceans.

  • And speaking of protecting the oceans, this episode has been sponsored by MOVA Globes.

  • I've talked about MOVA Globes before.

  • I love the technology.

  • It spins automatically, powered by ambient sunlight.

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  • Once again I'm Chris Chappell, see you next time.

China's vast commercial fishing fleet

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China's Global Fishing Wrecks Economies and the Ocean

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    zijun su posted on 2021/06/02
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