World Bulletin/News Desk
Last month, two Chinese fishing boats were caught operating illegally in South Korean waters. The incident made local headlines and minor diplomatic waves, but it’s just a drop in the bucket in what has become a troubling trend for China’s foreign water fishing fleets, according to the Wilson Center report.
Over the last decade, there have been more than 4,600 cases of Chinese fishing boats being caught illegally in South Korea’s waters alone, according to the government, and these marine transgressions have not been limited to neighbors, the report says.
According to the report, China created its distant water fishing fleet in 1985, largely as a response to growing domestic demand for fish and lack of domestic supply due to overexploited waters. Its growth since then has mirrored China’s overall economic surge. With government support, the fleet now has more than 2,000 vessels; in comparison, the U.S. fleet has around 200.
Report says fishing fleet is problematic for a few reasons, the most prominent being that a significant portion of its catch it illegal, unreported, or unregulated, making measuring catches and determining sustainable catch rates impossible. Of the estimated 4.6 million tons of fish China catches annually, the vast majority comes from outside of its domestic waters, and most of that is unreported.Last Mod: 17 Kasım 2013, 15:37