Posts Tagged ‘Chinese fishermen’

Philippines’ Greatest International Victory — Document to peacefully resolve disputes by international law — Lost by the wayside

July 15, 2017
 / 05:18 AM July 15, 2017

On July 12 a year ago, the Philippines won a stunning victory on the international front when the case it had brought against China was upheld by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. The ruling invalidated China’s claim to almost all of the South China Sea: The court said China has “no historical rights” on the area via its so-called “nine-dash line,” and recognized the Philippines’ sovereign rights to fish and explore for minerals in waters within its 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone.

“Having found that none of the features claimed by China was capable of generating an exclusive economic zone, the Tribunal found that it could—without delimiting a boundary—declare that certain sea areas are within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, because those areas are not overlapped by any possible entitlement of China,” declared the ruling.

Not only that. While the court said it would not “rule on any question of sovereignty over land territory and would not delimit any maritime boundary between the Parties” (China and the Philippines), it unequivocally declared that China had violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone “by (a) interfering with Philippine fishing and petroleum exploration, (b) constructing artificial islands and (c) failing to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing in the zone.”

In much of the international community, the ruling was immediately hailed as a milestone document, a way forward to clarify and resolve, via international law, the bitter disputes that have arisen over ownership and fishing rights in the South China Sea (Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei have competing claims to it alongside China and the Philippines). As late as last April, the issue was in the minds of the foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States—when it issued a statement backing the ruling, saying it could be “a useful basis for further efforts to peacefully resolve disputes in the South China Sea.” G7 added that it strongly opposed “any unilateral actions which increase tensions, such as the threat or use of force, large-scale land reclamation, building of outposts, as well as their use for military purposes and urge all parties to pursue demilitarization of disputed features and to comply with their obligations under international law.”

That reminder was deemed necessary, because China had not only rejected the tribunal’s ruling despite being a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, under which the arbitration case was heard; it also defied world opinion by upping the ante, constructing military facilities on three islands in the disputed region that have now allowed it to potentially deploy military forces and exercise an effective lockdown over the vital waters.

While other claimant countries have continued to protest Beijing’s muscle-flexing, the Philippines, the main beneficiary of the tribunal’s ruling, has instead chosen rapprochement with China by, first of all, “setting aside” the historic decision. That was how President Duterte worded his rebooted foreign policy, under which the Philippines would be silent for now on its legal claim, in exchange for billions of dollars in loans and financial commitments from its giant economic neighbor. The President sees it as a pragmatic arrangement: The Philippines is in no shape to fight China militarily, and so must assume a less provocative, more suppliant position.

Meanwhile, China’s encroachment and increasing control over the West Philippine Sea continues.

Only time will tell if the Duterte administration’s strategy over this invaluable piece of national patrimony is correct, or if in fact, as Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said, it “dropped the ball.”

Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/105588/ignored-victory#ixzz4msYNTgIk
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Indonesia Re-Names Parts of The South China Sea To Assert Its Sovereignty — The latest act of resistance against China — China calls the act “totally meaningless”

July 14, 2017
Reuters
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Indonesia’s Deputy Minister for Maritime Affairs Arif Havas Oegroseno points at the location of North Natuna Sea on a new map of Indonesia during talks with reporters in Jakarta, Indonesia, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta
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Indonesia has renamed the northern reaches of its exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea as the North Natuna Sea, the latest act of resistance by Southeast Asian nations to China’s territorial ambitions in the maritime region.

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Seen by analysts as an assertion of Indonesian sovereignty, part of the renamed sea is claimed by China under its contentious maritime boundary, known as the ‘nine-dash line’, that encompasses most of the resource-rich sea.

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Indonesian Deputy Minister for Maritime Affairs Arif Havas Oegroseno (C) stands in front of a new map of Indonesia during talks with reporters in Jakarta, Indonesia, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta

Several Southeast Asian states dispute China’s territorial claims and are competing with China to exploit the South China Sea’s abundant hydrocarbon and fishing resources. China has raised the ante by deploying military assets on artificial islands constructed on shoals and reefs in disputed parts of the sea.

Indonesia insists it’s a non-claimant state in the South China Sea dispute but has clashed with China over fishing rights around the Natuna Islands, detaining Chinese fishermen and expanding its military presence in the area over the past 18 months.

Unveiling the new official map, the deputy of maritime sovereignty at the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Arif Havas Oegroseno, noted the northern side of its exclusive economic zone was the site of oil and gas activity.

“We want to update the naming of the sea we gave a new name in line with the usual practice: the North Natuna Sea,” he told reporters.

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang

In Beijing,  Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said he didn’t know anything about the details of the issue, but said the name South China Sea had broad international recognition and clear geographic limits.

“Certain countries’ so-called renaming is totally meaningless,” he told a daily news briefing.

South China Sea: One Year After The Philippines Win At The Permanent Court of Arbitration — Brilliant Statecraft or Treason?

July 12, 2017

By Ellen Tordesillas

Posted at Jul 12 2017 02:46 AM

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One of the good things that President Duterte has done was to rekindle relations with China which reached its lowest ebb during the administration of Benigno Aquino III.

Never mind that during the election campaign, he rode on the anti-China sentiments of most Filipinos fueled by the pro-American leanings of Aquino and his Foreign Secretary, Albert del Rosario.

Remember, a standard in Duterte’s campaign speech was his boast that he will ride on a jet ski to one of the islands in the disputed Spratlys and plant the Philippine flag. He would kiss the flag to dramatize his promise. Once in Malacanang, he was asked when he was going to jetski to Spratlys and he replied it was a joke. He said he didn’t even know how to swim.

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In the guise of independent foreign policy, Duterte didn’t just cozy up to China. He attacked the United States when then President Barack Obama reminded him to respect human rights amid reports of rampant killings in connection with his anti-illegal drugs campaign.

His foreign policy moves can be likened to a pendulum that swung from extreme right to extreme left. Today marks first year anniversary of the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands on the case filed by the Philippines against China on the latter’s activities in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.

China did not participate in the Arbitral Court proceedings.

It was a major victory for the Philippines. The Arbitral Court declared invalid China’s nine-dashed line map which covers some 85 percent of the whole South China which infringes on the economic exclusive zones of other countries namely the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

The Arbitral Court also ruled that China’s  artificial islands – rocks that were turned into garrisons through reclamation – in the disputed South China Sea do not generate entitlements under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea such as economic exclusive zone (220 nautical miles from the shore) and extended continental shelf (350 nautical miles).

As to Scarborough or Panatag Shoal, which is within the Philippine EEZ, the Arbitral Court said it’s a traditional fishing ground of Philippine, Chinese, Vietnamese and fishermen of other nationalities and should be maintained as such.

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Filipino fishermen had been denied access to the area since April 2012 after a two-month stand off between Chinese and Philippine Coastguards following arrest by a Philippine warship of Chinese fishermen in Scarborough shoal. Two Chinese ships remained even after the Aquino government withdrew its ships.

Duterte takes pride that because of his friendship with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Filipino fishermen are now allowed to fish in the area, which is being guarded by two Chinese ships.

It’s like a battered wife thankful that the husband has stopped beating her.

Duterte’s critics have scored his deference to China even  echoing  the position of China that historically South China Sea is theirs  as the name states.

In an ambush interview last April. Duterte said, “They really claim it as their own, noon pa iyan. Hindi lang talaga pumutok nang mainit. Ang nagpainit diyan iyong Amerikano. Noon pa iyan, kaya (It goes way back. The issue just did not erupt then. What triggered the conflict were the Americans. But it goes all the way back. That’s why it’s called) China Sea… sabi nga nila (they say) China Sea, historical na iyan. So hindi lang iyan pumuputok (It’s historical. The issue just had not erupted then) but this issue was the issue before so many generations ago.”

VERA Files fact-check about the name of South China Sea showed  that  South China Sea used to be called the Champa Sea, after the Cham people who established a great maritime kingdom in central Vietnam from the late 2nd to the 17th century.

That is contained in the book,  ‘The South China Sea Dispute: Philippine Sovereign Rights and Jurisdiction in the West Philippine Sea” by  Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.

Carpio said it was the  Portuguese navigators who coined the name South China Sea.

“The ancient Malays also called this sea Laut Chidol or the South Sea, as recorded by Pigafetta in his account of Ferdinand Magellan’s circumnavigation of the world from 1519 to 1522. In Malay, which is likewise derived from the Austronesian language, laut means sea and kidol means south,” he further said.

“The ancient Chinese never called this sea the South China Sea. Their name for the sea was “Nan Hai” or the South Sea, he adds.

Reading Duterte’s blurting the Chinese line on the South China name, Ruben Carranza, former commissioner of the Presidential Commission on Good Government and now director of the Reparative Justice Program at the International Center for Transitional Justice, said “In football, that would be an ‘own goal.’

That’s when a player delivers the ball to the opponent’s goal.

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http://news.abs-cbn.com/blogs/opinions/07/11/17/opinion-ph-win-in-arbitral-court-one-year-after

Blog:www.ellentordesillas.com
E-mail:ellentordesillas@gmail.com

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 (Contains links to information about Vietnam’s renewed efforts to extract oil and gas from the sea bed)

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Dominance of the South China Sea, the Malacca Strait and the Indian Ocean would solidify China’s One Belt One Road project
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The international arbitration court in the Hague said on July 12, 2016, that China’s “nine dash line” was not recognized under international law — making the Vietnamese and Philippine claims on South China Sea islands valid and lawful.
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China’s aircraft carrier Liaoning at Hong Kong
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Time To Take Action To Defend The Philippines

June 13, 2017
OPINION
/ 12:22 AM June 13, 2017

I meant to write on Rizal and President Duterte, but taking part in the Defend Democracy Summit at the UP School of Economics on Monday brought me face to face with the human toll of the Duterte administration’s irresolution in defending the West Philippine Sea. We must make time to understand the Duterte era from a historical perspective; on Thursday, the Inquirer and the De La Salle University seek to do just that, with a historians’ forum on Philippine independence and the rise of China. But today—today I want to talk about Norma and Ping and the fishermen in Zambales they represent.

Let me belabor the obvious: The Defend Democracy Summit was called out of the sense that democracy in the Philippines today needs to be defended. The organizers defined four areas that needed defending: national sovereignty, human rights, democratic institutions, truth.

Assigned to the first workshop, I had the chance to listen to Prof. Jay Batongbacal, one of the world’s leading experts on the South China Sea disputes. (I added a few words on the Chinese view, from confusion in the 1930s about the location of the Spratlys to allegations in the English-language Chinese press of Philippine aggression in 2016.) In the discussion that followed, the diversity of the perspectives represented was striking: women, businessmen, students, environmentalists, political activists, fisherfolk. I was especially impressed by the intensity of the intervention of the likes of Norma and Ping, who represented fishermen from Zambales whose lives and livelihood are increasingly at risk.

 

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Not for lack of trying: The fishermen are organized, conduct roundtables in their communities, connect to local and national reporters. But since the start of the Duterte administration, they have found themselves at the mercy of the Chinese—and the authorities do not seem to be of any help. One of the representatives spoke of a recent incident where Chinese fishermen were arrested while poaching in internal waters, and a Chinese Embassy official appeared to tell police officers: “Philippine law does not apply to them (the poachers).” (I will try to get to the bottom of this incident.) He also vigorously rejected media reports that Filipino fishermen can now fish inside Scarborough Shoal.

A group of Zambales fishermen has been conducting meetings and workshops among themselves. In their last workshop, they came up with a list of five demands, in Filipino, that illustrates the immediate effect of the government’s failure to protect their way of life.

The five demands they addressed to the Duterte administration include:

Remove China’s illegal structures and stop certain practices that only favor China.

Allow fishermen to fish and to seek cover in Scarborough Shoal in times of typhoons and calamities.

Provide livelihood for fishermen’s families affected (by Chinese control of Scarborough Shoal since 2012).

Avoid classifying Scarborough as a marine sanctuary because in the end this will only become a fishing area for China.

Stop the illegal quarrying in Zambales used for the reclamation (of Chinese-occupied reefs) and the building of Chinese military structures, in the West Philippine Sea.

Another representative warned: “In five years, maybe in two years, Zambales will be out”—meaning out of fish stock, because of aggressive Chinese fishing.

Yesterday, June 12, was the 90th birthday of an extraordinary teacher who is, amazingly, still teaching. Onofre Pagsanghan, better known to generations of students at the Ateneo de Manila High School, and to thousands of students and parents who have heard his lectures in different schools across the country, as Mr. Pagsi, was—is—a spellbinding speaker. His gift is equal parts heart and craft; a lifetime of integrity and excellence becomes visible through his lectures, even his casual remarks.

What a privilege it was to study under him.

On Twitter: @jnery_newsstand

Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/104727/remove-chinas-illegal-structures#ixzz4js4z0UQu
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FILE photo provided by Filipino fisherman Renato Etac —  A Chinese Coast Guard boat approaches Filipino fishermen near Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. Scarborough Shoal has always been part of the Philippines, by international law. China says it is happy to control fishing in the South China Sea. Credit: Renato Etac

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For about five years China has been loudly proclaiming “indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea.” China has said, everything north of the “nine dash line” shown here, essentially, belongs to China.  On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said China’s “nine dash line” was not recognized under international law.

Seven Chinese vessels detained off West Africa for illegal fishing — While four areas of Africa battle famine — West Africa’s annual losses from illegal and unregulated fishing is about $2.3 billion

May 5, 2017

Reuters

By Emma Farge | DAKAR

West African countries have detained seven Chinese ships for fishing illegally and the boats’ owners could be subject to millions of dollars in fines, environmental group Greenpeace and government officials said.

Inspectors from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau boarded the ships off their coasts that they found to be violating regulations on catching protected fish and using nets with small holes to facilitate bigger hauls.

The arrests came after a two-month regional patrol on a Greenpeace ship, the Esperanza, that carried inspectors from the West African countries in a bid to supplement national efforts often hamstrung by budget and technology constraints.

“This is a surprisingly high amount of arrests, especially considering that the vessels knew about our patrols in advance,” Greenpeace’s Pavel Klinckhamers said on Tuesday.

West Africa has some of the richest waters in the world, but stocks are being depleted as industrial trawlers, some operating illegally, comb the oceans from the seabed to the surface, Greenpeace says.

A study in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science estimated West Africa’s annual losses from illegal and unregulated fishing at $2.3 billion.

The Esperanza patrol found 11 vessels in breach of regulations out of 37 stopped, and reported the breaches to local authorities, who towed them back to port.

Some of the ships were released after fines were paid. Others remain under investigation.

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Two other foreign vessels were found to be non-compliant, including a European ship with shark fins aboard, and further investigations are under way, Greenpeace said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China consistently opposes all forms of illegal fishing, and demands that firms operate legally and protect the maritime environment.

“China hopes that the relevant countries can enforce the law in a civilized manner, handle it in accordance with the law and protect the legal rights of the relevant Chinese companies and their employees,” Geng said.

An EU official in Dakar was not immediately available for comment. The EU, which imports around 874 million euros ($954 million) of fish products each year from West Africa, is subject to fishing quotas and pays compensation to local governments. It has also provided funding to crack down on illegal fishing.

Guinea’s fishing minister, Andre Loua, confirmed the detentions and added that it needed more money and boats to effectively control illegal fishing.

Sierra Leone Minister of Information Mohamed Bangura said three Chinese vessels had been detained and fines paid, without giving details. A Guinea-Bissau fishing official said fines were still being negotiated for some of the seized vessels.

(This version of the story has been refiled with Greenpeace correcting number of ships detained to 7)

(Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing, Saliou Samb in Conakry, Umaru Fofana in Freetown and Alberto Dabo in Bissau; editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Robin Pomeroy)

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A desperate plea for help as 4 African nations near a famine crisis

By CHRISTINE ROMO, DAVID MUIR and ENJOLI FRANCIS
ABC News

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China Wants Fish, So Africa Goes Hungry

Of all the stresses that humans have inflicted on the world’s oceans, including pollution and global warming, industrial fishing ranks high. For years, trawlers capable of scouring the ocean floor, and factory ships trailing driftnets and longlines baited with thousands of hooks, have damaged once-abundant fisheries to the point where, the United Nations says, 90 percent of them are now fully exploited or facing collapse.

The damage is not just to the fish and the ecosystem but also to people who depend on them for food and income. This is particularly true in Africa. In 2008, in two striking articles, The Times reported that mechanized fleets from the European Union, Russia and China had nearly picked clean the oceans off Senegal and other northwest African countries, ruining coastal economies.

It’s still happening, but now, according to a report by The Times’s Andrew Jacobs, China stands alone as the major predator.

With its own waters heavily overfished, and being forced to forage elsewhere to feed its people, the Chinese government commands a fleet of nearly 2,600 vessels, 10 times larger than the United States fleet, all heavily subsidized. As Zhang Hongzhou of Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University observes, “For China’s leaders, ensuring a steady supply of aquatic products is not just about good economics but social stability and political legitimacy.”

The result: The Chinese government is basically snatching fish out of the nets of poor fishermen in Africa in order to keep fish on plates in China. A new study published by the journal Frontiers in Marine Science says that most Chinese ships are so large that they scoop up as many fish in a week as Senegalese boats catch in a year, costing West African economies some $2 billion.

Further, many Chinese ships don’t hesitate to break the law to meet soaring demand. In 2015, Greenpeace found numerous cases of illegal Chinese fishing in West African waters, including ships that misreported their coordinates or underreported their tonnage: known ploys to fish in prohibited areas. Yet this presents nations like Senegal with a difficult choice, because China is also pumping $60 billion into African development. As Alassane Samba, the former head of Senegal’s Oceanic Research Institute, put it, “It’s hard to say no to China when they are building your roads.”

China isn’t the only player in this drama. The European Union cuts deals with African nations to catch fish to meet global demand it can no longer satisfy with fish from its own waters. American companies, which have seen some remarkable recovery of once-threatened coastal fish stocks after limiting catches, buy fish taken from far-off waters by Chinese and other vessels, much of it processed into pet food. Russia and Japan reap the world’s fish bounty as well.

The good news, such as it is, is that some nations whose waters are at risk are rebelling, and the Chinese may slowly be getting the message. Indonesia has impounded scores of Chinese boats caught poaching in its waters, and Argentina sunk a Chinese vessel after it tried to ram a coast guard ship. There have been clashes between Chinese fishermen and the authorities in South Korea.

China has pledged to cut fuel subsidies to its fleet by 60 percent by 2019. “The era of fishing any way you want, wherever you want, has passed,” says Liu Xinzhong, deputy general director of the Bureau of Fisheries in Beijing. In January, China’s Ministry of Agriculture announced measures aimed at protecting China’s own fisheries, including possible catch limits.

That could eventually take some pressure off African and other international waters. So could the international compact known formally as the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, which went into effect last year. The treaty seeks to identify fishing vessels, tracking where they fish and how much fish they are harvesting. The United States ratified the agreement in 2016. As of last week, 44 other countries and the European Union had also signed on.

China, regrettably, has yet to do so. Beijing may be feeling the world’s censure. But it has a very long way to go before it becomes a responsible steward of the oceans’ threatened and not inexhaustible resources.

China’s Overfishing is Killing The Global Fishing Industry, Depleting our World’s Oceans

May 2, 2017

(OVERFISHING/OCEAN CONSERVATION) As the world’s biggest seafood exporter, China has the largest fleet of deep-sea fishing vessels and an enormous population that accounts for more than a third of all fish consumption worldwide. However, this insatiable demand has a drastic impact on our world’s oceans as desperate fishermen are sailing farther to exploit waters across the globe.

Chinese boat owners are heading to places prone to endemic corruption and lacking government regulation like West Africa, where the local government is more concerned with issues like domestic unemployment and food security rather than ocean conservation.

West Africa currently provides a majority of fish caught by China’s growing fleet of distant-water vessels, yet many of these Chinese fishermen rely on government funding to build ships and fuel their international journeys. For instance, between 2011 and 2015, these subsidies amounted to nearly $22 billion–almost three times more than the previous four years, and not including the tens of millions provided to support local Chinese fishing companies.

Given the alarming scale of fishing overcapacity, environmentalists warn that without any action, we could face a mass extinction of our Earth’s seas.

Continue reading below to learn more about the global rise in illegal fishing and how overfishing is depleting our world’s oceans. — Global Animal

Buyers and sellers at Zhoushan fish market. China has depleted the seas close to home. Photo Credit: Gilles Sabrie for The New York Times

New York Times, Andrew Jacobs

JOAL, Senegal — Once upon a time, the seas teemed with mackerel, squid and sardines, and life was good. But now, on opposite sides of the globe, sun-creased fishermen lament as they reel in their nearly empty nets.

“Your net would be so full of fish, you could barely heave it onto the boat,” said Mamadou So, 52, a fisherman in Senegal, gesturing to the meager assortment of tiny fish flapping in his wooden canoe.

A world away in eastern China, Zhu Delong, 75, also shook his head as his net dredged up a disappointing array of pinkie-size shrimp and fledgling yellow croakers. “When I was a kid, you could cast a line out your back door and hook huge yellow croakers,” he said. “Now the sea is empty.”

Overfishing is depleting oceans across the globe, with 90 percent of the world’s fisheries fully exploited or facing collapse, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. From Russian king crab fishermen in the west Bering Sea to Mexican ships that poach red snapper off the coast of Florida, unsustainable fishing practices threaten the well-being of millions of people in the developing world who depend on the sea for income and food, experts say.

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Turtle stuck in drift net. Photo Credit Jordi Chias –uwaterphoto.com

But China, with its enormous population, growing wealth to buy seafood and the world’s largest fleet of deep-sea fishing vessels, is having an outsize impact on the globe’s oceans.

Having depleted the seas close to home, Chinese fishermen are sailing farther to exploit the waters of other countries, their journeys often subsidized by a government more concerned with domestic unemployment and food security than the health of the world’s oceans and the countries that depend on them.

Increasingly, China’s growing armada of distant-water fishing vessels is heading to the waters of West Africa, drawn by corruption and weak enforcement by local governments. West Africa, experts say, now provides the vast majority of the fish caught by China’s distant-water fleet. And by some estimates, as many as two-thirds of those boats engage in fishing that contravenes international or national laws.

China’s distant-water fishing fleet has grown to nearly 2,600 vessels (the United States has fewer than one-tenth as many), with 400 boats coming into service between 2014 and 2016 alone. Most of the Chinese ships are so large that they scoop up as many fish in one week as Senegalese boats catch in a year, costing West African economies $2 billion a year, according to a new study published by the journal Frontiers in Marine Science.

Senegalese fishermen with their meager catch. Photo Credit: Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

Many of the Chinese boat owners rely on government money to build vessels and fuel their journeys to Senegal, a monthlong trip from crowded ports in China. Over all, government subsidies to the fishing industry reached nearly $22 billion between 2011 and 2015, nearly triple the amount spent during the previous four years, according to Zhang Hongzhou, a research fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

That figure, he said, does not include the tens of millions in subsidies and tax breaks that coastal Chinese cities and provinces provide to support local fishing companies.

According to one study by Greenpeace, subsidies for some Chinese fishing companies amount to a significant portion of their income. For one large state-owned company, CNFC Overseas Fisheries, the $12 million diesel subsidy it received last year made the difference between profit and loss, according to a corporate filing.

“Chinese fleets are all over the world now, and without these subsidies, the industry just wouldn’t be sustainable,” said Li Shuo, a global policy adviser at Greenpeace East Asia. “For Senegal and other countries of West Africa, the impact has been devastating.”

In Senegal, an impoverished nation of 14 million, fishing stocks are plummeting. Local fishermen working out of hand-hewn canoes compete with megatrawlers whose mile-long nets sweep up virtually every living thing. Most of the fish they catch is sent abroad, with a lot ending up as fishmeal fodder for chickens and pigs in the United States and Europe.

The sea’s diminishing returns mean plummeting incomes for fishermen and higher food prices for Senegalese citizens, most of whom depend on fish as their primary source of protein.

“We are facing an unprecedented crisis,” said Alassane Samba, a former director of Senegal’s oceanic research institute. “If things keep going the way they are, people will have to eat jellyfish to survive.”

When it comes to global fishing operations, China is the indisputable king of the sea. It is the world’s biggest seafood exporter, and its population accounts for more than a third of all fish consumption worldwide, a figure growing by 6 percent a year.

The nation’s fishing industry employs more than 14 million people, up from five million in 1979, with 30 million others relying on fish for their livelihood.

“The truth is, traditional fishing grounds in Chinese waters exist in name only,” said Mr. Zhang of Nanyang University. “For China’s leaders, ensuring a steady supply of aquatic products is not just about good economics but social stability and political legitimacy.”

But as they press toward other countries, Chinese fishermen have become entangled in a growing number of maritime disputes.

Indonesia has impounded scores of Chinese boats caught poaching in its waters, and in March last year, the Argentine authorities sank a Chinese vessel that tried to ram a coast guard boat. Violent clashes between Chinese fishermen and the South Korean authorities have left a half-dozen people dead.

For Beijing, the nation’s fleet of fishing vessels has helped assert its territorial ambitions in the South China Sea. In Hainan Province, the government encourages boat owners to fish in and around the Spratlys, the archipelago claimed by the Philippines, and the Paracel Islands, which Vietnam considers its own.

This maritime militia receives subsidized fuel, ice and navigational devices. Backed by the firepower of Chinese naval frigates, they have driven away thousands of Filipino fishermen who depended on the rich waters around the Spratly Islands.

Across the Philippine province of Palawan, the impact is reflected in the rows of idled outriggers and the clouds of smoke drifting across freshly denuded hillsides.

Unable to live off the sea, desperate fishermen have been burning protected coastal jungle to make way for rice fields. But heavy rain often washes away the topsoil, environmentalists say, rendering the steep land useless.

“Young boys spend their lives preparing to become fishermen,” said Eddie Agamos Brock, who runs Tao, an ecotourism initiative. “Now they have no way to make a living from the sea.”

Vendors and wives of fishermen waiting for boats to return to Joal, Senegal. Photo Credit: Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

For Senegal, which stretches along the Atlantic for more than 300 miles, the ocean is the economic lifeblood and a part of the national identity. Seafood is the main export, and fishing-related industries employ nearly 20 percent of the work force, according to the World Bank.

Ceebu jen, a hearty fish stew, is the national dish, and sawfish — once plentiful but now rare — grace bank notes. No Senegalese postcard is complete without an image of pirogues, the exuberantly painted boats fishermen use.

Despite declining fish stocks, unrelenting drought linked to climate change has driven millions of rural Senegalese to the coast, increasing the nation’s dependence on the sea.

With two-thirds of the population under 18, the strain has helped fuel the surge of young Senegalese trying to reach Europe.

“Foreigners complain about Africa migrants coming to their countries, but they have no problem coming to our waters and stealing all our fish,” said Moustapha Balde, 22, whose teenage cousin drowned after his boat sank in the Mediterranean.

The migration to the coast has transformed this seaside city, Joal, from a palm-shaded fishing village into a town of 55,000. Abdou Karim Sall, 50, president of the local fishermen’s association, said there were now 4,900 pirogues in Joal, up from a few dozen when he was a teenager.

“We always thought that sea life was boundless,” he said while patrolling the coastline. Now, he added, “we are facing a catastrophe.”

Mr. Sall became a local hero after he single-handedly detained the captains of two Chinese boats that were fishing illegally. These days, residents curse him under their breath because he has expanded his campaign against overfishing to include Senegalese boats that flout fishing rules designed to help stocks rebound.

“I understand why they hate me,” he said. “They are just trying to survive from day to day.”

Read the full New York Times article, here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/30/world/asia/chinas-appetite-pushes-fisheries-to-the-brink.html?_r=0

http://www.globalanimal.org/2017/05/01/the-king-of-the-sea-how-chinas-king-sized-appetite-is-sinking-the-global-fishing-industry/

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 (Contains links to several related articles)

China’s annual fish catch takes a huge bite out of world’s oceans — 600% rise in per capita seafood demand — Fish stocks depleted

May 1, 2017

By Peter Neill Director, World Ocean Observatory

China’s annual catch is estimated at some 15 million tons.

04/25/2017 03:23 pm ET | Updated 4 days ago

China is the largest consumer, producer, and exporter of every species caught by some 3,400 industrial fishing vessels harvesting the waters of over 90 coastal nations and the deep ocean.

Credit China Daily and Reuters

Everything about China is colossal – its land area, coastline, population, insatiable need for natural resources, gross national product, demand for import and export markets, massive bureaucracy, and growing influence in geopolitical affairs. Its place in the world is big by any dimension, and in every one, it is growing.

With regard to the ocean, particularly to fisheries, China is the largest consumer, producer, and exporter of every species caught by some 3,400 industrial fishing vessels harvesting the waters of over 90 coastal nations and the deep ocean. According to a 2016 report by Mongabay.com, an excellent online conservation and environmental news service, China’s annual catch is estimated at some 15 million tons, making it the world’s top fishing nation twice over. The result has also been colossal: a 50% reduction in its own domestic fish stocks, a 600% rise in per capita seafood demand, and a global fleet that is 2 to 3 times larger than what the entire global ocean is estimated to sustainability support.

Fish catches are presumably reported to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), but the statistics are very unreliable as a result of under-reporting, indifference to treaty quotas, illegal species catch, and stocks caught outside national jurisdictions. This lack of or misrepresentation of information is becoming more clear; the European Union estimates that the actual Chinese catches may be over twelve times what is reported through official channels and is dominating and decimating supply particularly in developing nations in West Africa where there is no domestic fleet to compete. In some instances, North Korea for example, China has acquired exclusive rights to all fishing within that nation’s exclusive economic zone.

In 2016, China attempted to purchase similar rights from the government of the Bahamas, a scheme that created a series of private holding companies, with shareholders designated by government, which would ostensibly control areas, practices, and catch limits, but would transfer through export almost all of the product to China in exchange for a small royalty to each company over and above the initial large one-time rights payment to government. The agreement was largely in place when the details found their way to the public and the outcry commenced that would eventually embarrass the government and the ministers involved and be withdrawn.

The ocean would become a colossal void, with no life therein to sustain ours, or theirs, beyond.

As with most things in China, this enterprise is controlled and underwritten by central and regional government, particularly through fuel subsidies. A study by the National Bureau of Asian Research estimated that “95% of the $6.5 billion subsidies in 2013 promoted over-fishing and harm to marine ecosystems.” The study observes that, “the subsidies artificially lower the value of a single fish, thus driving an increased effort to catch more, and creating a higher overall demand due to low market price.”

A solution to this problem requires oversight, accurate reporting, regulation and enforcement, and recognition of ocean harvest as a powerful internal need and external opportunity for local employment, taxes, and equitable trade that allows for producing nations to retain and sustain the asset for the future. Some nations are beginning to patrol their waters more aggressively, arresting Chinese crews and in some cases burning their vessels. Some products, like shark fins, are being successfully attacked by public pressure through environmental organizations, social media, boycott and market forces. Satellites have been launched, with orbits aligned to monitor deep-ocean fishing grounds where illegal activities can be observed and documented and used in enforcement, negotiation, and judicial proceedings. These are victories, but small ones.

Image result for Vietnamese fishing boat Dna 90152 sinking May 2014 after being rammed intentionally by a Chinese Coast Guard vessel, photos

Chinese workers sort the day’s catch.

How do we limit colossal? One way, of course, is through collapse as consequence of irresponsible, unlimited consumption. Even if all of us changed our behavior, if the Chinese colossus continues to decimate the global supply at its present rate, at some point in the not-too-distant future there will simply be no more fish. The ocean would become a colossal void, with no life therein to sustain ours, or theirs, beyond. There are some places today where that is already the case. No more fish. What a colossal disaster that is. What a colossal mistake that would be.

China’s Colossal Catch first appeared as a 5-minute audio episode on World Ocean Radio. Host Peter Neill is founder and director of the World Ocean Observatory, a web-based place of exchange for information and educational services about the health of the world ocean. Online at worldoceanobservatory.org.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/chinas-insatiable-appetite-for-fish-a-colossal-disaster_us_58ffa0dce4b0631b8fc9c531

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 (Contains links to several related articles)

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Dock workers use cranes to off-load frozen tuna from a Chinese-owned cargo vessel at the General Santos Fish Port, in the Philippines. Tuna stocks in the South China Sea have plummeted in recent years because of overfishing.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ADAM DEAN, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

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A worker carries a line-caught yellowfin tuna at the General Santos Fish Port, which is known as the “tuna capital of the Philippines.” The South China Sea, through which tuna migrate, produces more fish than almost anywhere else, but it has been severely overfished and is nearing collapse.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ADAM DEAN, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

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A couple sits outside a home built over the water in Quezon, where most people have family members who work as fishermen. Overfishing has put the livelihoods of many Filipinos at risk.
PHOTOGRPAH BY ADAM DEAN, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

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A Filipino fisherman wades from boat to shore with part of the crew’s catch. Fishermen who go to the South China Sea report that their catches have gotten smaller in recent years.

Philippines Exports Fish To China — Even As China’s Appetite Pushes Global Fisheries to the Brink

April 30, 2017

FUZHOU, Fujian, China: Some Philippine companies are now exporting varieties of fish to China, according to a China Asean Marine Product Exchange (Campe) that transacts online, delivers offline and settles cross-border trade.

“We import milk fish from Philippines and one of these companies is Sinocom which is based in Manila,” said Campe General Manager Jian Zhou.

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Besides coming from Southeast Asian nations like Vietnan, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, marine products are also sourced from all over the world like the Indian Ocean, Jian said. The annual trade volume is about two million metric tons and annual value of trade is pegged at not less than 30 billion yuan. He said the marine products are mostly shipped to various areas within China.

Chinese President Xi Jinping was once secretary of Fuzhou Municipal Party before he became Fujian governor. Campe was started only in 2013 but now handles 50 percent of marine trading in the world.

Together with the establishment of Campe, a huge storage called Mandy Group handles cold chain logistics from ice-making, warehousing, processing, testing and processing of aquatic products.

Some nine journalists from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines were invited by the Fujian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to tour the various companies in the province, especially those directly related to the Maritime Silk Route.

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The Silk Route was established during the early dynasties in China wherein spices from around the world were brought in to Chinese people in exchange of the vintage Chinese porcelain, among others.

Fujian, with a 38.74-million population, is the starting point of ancient Maritime Silk Route more than 2,000 years ago. More than 60,000 seafarers now active in maritime are coming from this province. Fujian is located at the southeast coast of the China and is about one hour and 15 minutes from Hong Kong.

http://www.manilatimes.net/ph-exports-fish-china/324731/

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Photo: A Filipino fishing boat that had been chased away from Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea by a Chinese Coast Guard vessel last year. Credit Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

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Dock workers use cranes to off-load frozen tuna from a Chinese-owned cargo vessel at the General Santos Fish Port, in the Philippines. Tuna stocks in the South China Sea have plummeted in recent years because of overfishing. Credit Adam Dean, National Geographic

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 China’s Appetite Pushes Fisheries to the Brink

JOAL, Senegal — Once upon a time, the seas teemed with mackerel, squid and sardines, and life was good. But now, on opposite sides of the globe, sun-creased fishermen lament as they reel in their nearly empty nets.

“Your net would be so full of fish, you could barely heave it onto the boat,” said Mamadou So, 52, a fisherman in Senegal, gesturing to the meager assortment of tiny fish flapping in his wooden canoe.

A world away in eastern China, Zhu Delong, 75, also shook his head as his net dredged up a disappointing array of pinkie-size shrimp and fledgling yellow croakers. “When I was a kid, you could cast a line out your back door and hook huge yellow croakers,” he said. “Now the sea is empty.”

Overfishing is depleting oceans across the globe, with 90 percent of the world’s fisheries fully exploited or facing collapse, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. From Russian king crab fishermen in the west Bering Sea to Mexican ships that poach red snapper off the coast of Florida, unsustainable fishing practices threaten the well-being of millions of people in the developing world who depend on the sea for income and food, experts say.

Senegalese fishermen with their meager catch. Credit Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

But China, with its enormous population, growing wealth to buy seafood and the world’s largest fleet of deep-sea fishing vessels, is having an outsize impact on the globe’s oceans.

Having depleted the seas close to home, Chinese fishermen are sailing farther to exploit the waters of other countries, their journeys often subsidized by a government more concerned with domestic unemployment and food security than the health of the world’s oceans and the countries that depend on them.

Increasingly, China’s growing armada of distant-water fishing vessels is heading to the waters of West Africa, drawn by corruption and weak enforcement by local governments. West Africa, experts say, now provides the vast majority of the fish caught by China’s distant-water fleet. And by some estimates, as many as two-thirds of those boats engage in fishing that contravenes international or national laws.

China’s distant-water fishing fleet has grown to nearly 2,600 vessels (the United States has fewer than one-tenth as many), with 400 boats coming into service between 2014 and 2016 alone. Most of the Chinese ships are so large that they scoop up as many fish in one week as Senegalese boats catch in a year, costing West African economies $2 billion a year, according to a new study published by the journal Frontiers in Marine Science.

Part of China’s enormous fishing fleet at the harbor in Zhejiang, China. CreditGilles Sabrie for The New York Times

Many of the Chinese boat owners rely on government money to build vessels and fuel their journeys to Senegal, a monthlong trip from crowded ports in China. Over all, government subsidies to the fishing industry reached nearly $22 billion between 2011 and 2015, nearly triple the amount spent during the previous four years, according to Zhang Hongzhou, a research fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

That figure, he said, does not include the tens of millions in subsidies and tax breaks that coastal Chinese cities and provinces provide to support local fishing companies.

According to one study by Greenpeace, subsidies for some Chinese fishing companies amount to a significant portion of their income. For one large state-owned company, CNFC Overseas Fisheries, the $12 million diesel subsidy it received last year made the difference between profit and loss, according to a corporate filing.

“Chinese fleets are all over the world now, and without these subsidies, the industry just wouldn’t be sustainable,” said Li Shuo, a global policy adviser at Greenpeace East Asia. “For Senegal and other countries of West Africa, the impact has been devastating.”

In Senegal, an impoverished nation of 14 million, fishing stocks are plummeting. Local fishermen working out of hand-hewn canoes compete with megatrawlers whose mile-long nets sweep up virtually every living thing. Most of the fish they catch is sent abroad, with a lot ending up as fishmeal fodder for chicken and pigs in the United States and Europe.

The sea’s diminishing returns mean plummeting incomes for fishermen and higher food prices for Senegalese citizens, most of whom depend on fish as their primary source of protein.

“We are facing an unprecedented crisis,” said Alassane Samba, a former director of Senegal’s oceanic research institute. “If things keep going the way they are, people will have to eat jellyfish to survive.”

When it comes to global fishing operations, China is the indisputable king of the sea. It is the world’s biggest seafood exporter, and its population accounts for more than a third of all fish consumption worldwide, a figure growing by 6 percent a year.

Buyers and sellers at Zhoushan fish market. China has depleted the seas close to home.CreditGilles Sabrie for The New York Times

The nation’s fishing industry employs more than 14 million people, up from five million in 1979, with 30 million others relying on fish for their livelihood.

“The truth is, traditional fishing grounds in Chinese waters exist in name only,” said Mr. Zhang of Nanyang University. “For China’s leaders, ensuring a steady supply of aquatic products is not just about good economics but social stability and political legitimacy.”

But as they press toward other countries, Chinese fishermen have become entangled in a growing number of maritime disputes.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/30/world/asia/chinas-appetite-pushes-fisheries-to-the-brink.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fworld&action=click&contentCollection=world&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront&_r=0

Read the rest:

Chinese moving to dominate the South China Sea — An emerging environmental disaster has gone largely unnoticed

March 26, 2017

A sea in peril

While rival claimants jockey for strategic position in the South China Sea, an emerging environmental disaster has gone largely unnoticed

MARCH 25, 2017

China will soon host a dialogue with Southeast Asian nations aimed at managing tensions in the South China Sea. But it’s not clear whether the talks will help to save a marine environment that in parts is facing collapse.

While diplomats discuss the implementation of a code of conduct for rival claimants in the vast waterway, scientists say that the region’s marine environment also deserves attention, partly because overfishing on all sides is depleting fish stocks.

Chinese fishermen in search of valuable giant clams have destroyed vital coral reefs on a vast scale, although that practice now appears to be slowing.

Rachael Bale of National Geographic, who has written extensively on the South China Sea, aptly summed up the situation early this year, saying that “While politicians argue over which country controls the region, the fishery … is on the brink of collapse.”

Fishermen unload baskets of fish as they dock their boats at a port under the alert of Typhoon Kalmaegi, in Sanya, Hainan province September 14, 2014. China's marine forecast station issued a yellow alert as typhoon Kalmaegi is expected to enter the South China Sea on Monday morning, Xinhua News Agency reported. REUTERS/Stringer (CHINA - Tags: ENVIRONMENT AGRICULTURE) CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA - RTR464V0

Overfished: Fishermen unload their catch in Hainan province, China. Photo: Reuters

According to The Nature Conservancy, overfishing is a common problem around the world. Maria Damanaki, global managing director for oceans at the Conservancy, explains that “when too few individual fish of breeding age remain, they simply don’t produce well …”

It is what she describes as “a lose-lose situation for both fishermen and conservationists.” The stakes are particularly high in the case of the South China Sea.

High stakes

Occupying more than 3.5 million square kilometers, the South China Sea is one of the world’s five leading fishing zones, according to researchers at the University of British Columbia.

The fishery employs more than 3 million people, contributes heavily to the global fish trade and provides a major source of vital protein to millions of people living in the nations that depend on it.

In addition, experts believe that huge reserves of oil and gas lie unexploited beneath the disputed waters.

Fishing boats are seen anchored in a bay as Typhoon Chan-Hom approaches southern China, in Wenling, Zhejiang province, July 8, 2015. Chinese authorities have suspended train services, closed schools and bought trawlers back to port before two typhoons in the south and east of the country make landfall later this week, state media said. Picture taken July 8, 2015. REUTERS/William Hong CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA - RTX1JNFJ

Seafaring: Chinese fishing boats anchored in the bay. Photo: Reuters/William Hong

US Air Force Captain Adam Greer, who has done research partly funded by the National Defense University, says that the stakes in the South China Sea can be summed up by a “3 P’s rule”—politics, petroleum, and protein.

In an article published in The Diplomat, Greer argues that the protein derived from fish may be the most important factor driving competition in the South China Sea.

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The best news for the environment, one leading American scientist says, was a Chinese decision early this year to enforce regulations calling for a halt to the harvesting and processing by Chinese fishermen of giant clams in the South China Sea.

John McManus, a professor of marine biology and fisheries at the University of Miami, said that the decision, announced by China’s southern Hainan province, could mark a major step toward helping to preserve and restore a vital part of the marine environment.

The giant clams are embedded in coral reefs that protect small fish from predators. The coral reefs also play a role in replenishing fish stocks.

This picture taken on July 19, 2013 shows giant clams on display in Tanmen, in China's southern Hainan Province. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO / AFP PHOTO / STR

In demand: Giant clams for sale in China’s southern Hainan Province. Photo: AFP

According to McManus, Chinese poachers using boat propellers to dig up reefs and uncover the clams have caused widespread damage to many of the reefs. Chinese dredging aimed at gathering sand and gravel to build artificial islands has caused further serious damage.

The highly valued shells of the clams have been carved much like elephant ivory into intricate ornaments for sale to Chinese tourists visiting Hainan Island. Some Chinese regard the meat from the clams as a rare delicacy and an aphrodisiac.

Gregory Poling, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Washington DC-based Center for Strategic and International Studies believes that the biggest factor in reducing the giant clam shell trade may be Chinese President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign.

“As the crackdown on corruption has spread, people are understandably hesitant to accept jewelry or statues made from poached giant clams,” Poling said.

Products made from giant clam shells are displayed inside a store in the seaside town of Tanmen in China's Hainan province May 10, 2016. Picture taken May 10, 2016. REUTERS/Farah Master - RTX2IKU7

Shiny wears: Products made from giant clam shells at Tanmen town in China’s Hainan province. Photo: Reuters/Farah Master

Zhang Hongzhou, a research fellow at the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, says that it appears the crackdown on the giant clam trade has been “very decisive, at least as of now.”

The local government on Hainan Island, he says, also intends to promote “fishing tourism” as an alternative source of income for the local fishermen.

But Zhang says that he sees some evidence that the price for giant clams is rising, which could lead to an underground trade that spurs illegal harvesting.

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Coral rubble remains after Chinese “chopper” boats killed branching corals, which were subsequently further broken up by  blast fishing.  John McManus/Rosenstiel School, University of Miami

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Dr. John McManus, professor of Marine Biology and Fisheries at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

The various nations involved in the South China Sea, including China, have laws aimed at preserving the marine environment. But the problem so far has been a lack of implementation.

Talks bring hope

China’s recent negotiations with Vietnam have offered another source of hope. During a recent visit to Beijing, Nguyen Phu Trong, Vietnam’s Communist Party General Secretary, signed 15 agreements dealing, among other things, with economic cooperation, defense relations and tourism.

But another development points to potential conflict.

Satellite photos taken by the firm Planet Labs on March 6 show the clearing of land by China for possible new construction in the disputed Paracel Islands. Taiwan and Vietnam claim the Paracels as their territory.

Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. Photo taken May 2016. U.S. Navy/Handout

Chinese dredging vessels in the South China Sea in 2016. Photo: US Navy/handout

Last month China’s agriculture ministry announced a fishing ban, including over a number of areas claimed by the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam, among others, in the South China Sea, that would last from May 1 to August 16. The Vietnamese Foreign Ministry strongly objected to the ban, which it described as “unilateral.”

Hua Chunying, spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs

At the same time, on the diplomatic front, China claims to be drafting a new code of conduct with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), although some experts doubt that diplomats can complete it as promised by the end of this year.

A non-binding code of conduct resolution signed by China and ASEAN in 2002 included brief mention of cooperative “marine environmental protection,” contingent on a comprehensive and durable settlement of the disputes.

South China Sea disputed islands

Marine biology expert McManus says that effectively managing the marine environment will require peaceful relations among the nations whose fishermen, and the Coast Guards backing them, have clashed frequently in recent years.

McManus proposes that a “marine peace park” be established in the Spratly Islands and that a freeze on territorial claims be imposed as part of an agreement. But satellite images showing the clearing of land on North Island in the Paracels group makes a freeze seem unlikely any time soon.

A Vietnamese Coast Guard officer took a picture of a China Coast Guard ship moving toward his vessel, which is near the site of a Chinese drilling oil rig being installed in disputed water.

A Vietnamese Coast Guard officer took a picture of a China Coast Guard ship moving toward his vessel, which is near the site of a Chinese drilling oil rig being installed in disputed water. AFP/getty images

Carl Thayer, a Vietnam expert at the Australian Defense Force Academy, describes the Paracels as “vital to any future Chinese attempt to dominate the South China Sea.” But as long as the territorial disputes drag on, the maritime area’s environment will likely continue to pay a high cost.

Dan Southerland is the former executive editor of Radio Free Asia

 

Related:

 — From March 25, 2017 with links to other related articles

National Geographic:

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A China Coast Guard ship (top) and a Philippine supply boat engage in a stand off as the Philippine boat attempts to reach the Second Thomas Shoal, a remote South China Sea a reef claimed by both countries, on March 29, 2014 (AFP Photo/Jay Directo )

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A Vietnamese fisherman repairs his vessel after it was rammed by a Chinese patrol ship that it protecting the waters around a disputed oil rig in the South China Sea, May 18, 2014. (PhoBolsaTV.com)

A Vietnamese fisherman repairs his vessel after it was rammed by a Chinese patrol ship that it protecting the waters around a disputed oil rig in the South China Sea, May 18, 2014. (PhoBolsaTV.com)

Chủ tàu Trần Văn Quang và chiếc mỏ neo bị tàu lạ đâm lút vào mũi tàu. Ảnh: Đức Nguyễn.

Vietnamese fishing boat Captain Tran Van Quang

Chủ tàu Trần Văn Quang và chiếc mỏ neo bị tàu lạ đâm lút vào mũi tàu. Ảnh: Đức Nguyễn.

 

Outrage: Vietnamese and Filipino protesters outside the Chinese Consulate at the financial district of Makati city to protest the recent moves by China to construct an oil rig in disputed waters in the South China Sea

Outrage: Vietnamese and Filipino protesters outside the Chinese Consulate at the financial district of Makati city, the Philippines, to protest the recent moves by China to construct an oil rig in disputed waters in the South China Sea

 

 (This    article has links to several  others related to environmental issues in the South China Sea).

A green sea turtle is seen off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii.

A green sea turtle.(Reuters)

 (Includes Obama creates largest ocean reserve, takes heat for new federal decrees)

 (Has links to many related conservation and environmental articles)

 (Rupert Wingfield-Hayes reports)

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Filipino activists and Vietnamese nationals display placards and chant anti-China slogans as they march outside the Chinese Consulate in Manila’s Makati financial district on May 16, 2014. Several hundred Filipino and Vietnamese protesters united in a march in the Philippine capital on Friday, May 16, 2014, demanding that China stop oil drilling in disputed South China Sea waters. — PHOTO: REUTERS

 

 (August 25, 2016)

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China’s Tian Jing Hao – Cutter suction dredger — Used to destroy South China Sea coral reefs to provide dredge material for new man made- islands — an environmental disaster

 (Contains links to several related articles)

August 17, 2015
ANOTHER set of a dredge floater assembly with Chinese markings found in the Zambales sea is pulled to the shore of the capital town of Iba on Sunday. The first set of dredge floaters was found by local fishermen off Cabangan, Zambales province, in July. ALLAN MACATUNO/INQUIRER CENTRAL LUZON

ANOTHER set of a dredge floater assembly with Chinese markings found in the Zambales sea is pulled to the shore of the capital town of Iba on Sunday. The first set of dredge floaters was found by local fishermen off Cabangan, Zambales province, in July. ALLAN MACATUNO/INQUIRER CENTRAL LUZON

 

 

An elderly Vietnamese protester holds a placard during an anti-China protest in front of the Chinese consulate in the financial district of Manila on May 16, 2014. Several hundred Filipino and Vietnamese protesters united in a march in the Philippine capital on May 16, demanding that China stop oil drilling in disputed South China Sea waters. Many Vietnamese remain uneasy with China in the South china sea till this day.  AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)

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The End of an era?  Fishermen work to unload a net full of anchovies during a fishing expedition in the Pacific Ocean. Photo AP

 

 

Overfishing driving dozens of species into extinction threatening African food crisis, warn experts

February 11, 2017

‘The growing extinction threat to fish off the central and western coast of Africa could seriously undermine food security across the region,’ IUCN says

By Ian Johnston Environment Correspondent
Thursday 19 January 2017

The Independent Online

Overfishing off the west coast of Africa threatens to drive many species to extinction, which could cause food shortages for local people, conservationists have warned.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said the Madeiran sardine and other important sources of food could be wiped out.

Some 37 species were classed as threatened with extinction and 14 more were said to be “near threatened” from Angola in the south to Mauritania in the north.

Illegal fishing in these waters is a significant problem with complaints that European fishing fleets are taking too many fish.

Pollution, degradation of habitats, the spread of invasive species and the warming of the waters caused by human-induced climate change are also all putting pressure on fish populations.

The IUCN’s director-general, Inger Andersen, said: “The growing extinction threat to fish off the central and western coast of Africa could seriously undermine food security across the region.

“Fish provide a major source of animal protein for coastal communities, which account for around 40 per cent of this region’s population.

“In a part of the world where poverty reduction remains a challenge, preserving the rich diversity of marine fish species will help safeguard the livelihoods of local communities.”

Experts studied the populations of some 1,288 bony fish species, the vast majority of those found off Africa’s west coast.

Of those classed as threatened or near threatened, 39 were targeted by fishing fleets and many were food staples.

In a statement about the study, the IUCN said: “The Madeiran sardine, now listed as vulnerable, is one of three sardine species which are all considered overfished within the region.

“The endangered Cassava croaker is estimated to have declined by 30 to 60 per cent over the past 10 years, primarily due to overfishing.

“Croakers are particularly important to local subsistence fishers, who will be most affected by stock declines.”

The area is famed for its fishing grounds with places like the Niger delta providing rich breeding grounds for fish.

But this has been affected by serious oil pollution, development, and the conversion of mangrove swamps for human uses.

Piracy has been a problem in this area, with some fishermen turning to crime after struggling to make a living. Some have blamed European fleets for stripping the seas of fish.

“The study highlights the severely limited capacity for fisheries surveillance and enforcement in the region, leading to illegal fishing and overfishing that imperils national and regional management efforts,” the IUCN said.

“In many countries illegal catches represent over 40 per cent of the reported legal catch.”

The IUCN said marine resources provided food and livelihoods for nearly 400 million people living in western and central African countries with a marine coastline.

Idriss Deffry, marine and coastal coordinator for the IUCN programme for western and central Africa, said: “For the first time, we have comprehensive knowledge of the presence and population status of all marine fishes in the region.

“This will provide critical information for improved fisheries and marine protected area management, and identify further research and conservation efforts needed.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/overfishing-species-extinction-african-food-crisis-threat-iucn-warning-niger-angola-mauritania-a7534901.html

Related:

chinese_fishing_boat4.jpg

China has the most fishing boats in the world

 (Links to several related articles)