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CHINA: Overfishing the world

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The post below is reproduced from The Polynesian Times:

A study published a few days ago* reports large-scale illegal fishing in North Korean waters by Chinese ships that harvested more than 160,000 tons of Pacific flying squid in 2017 and 2018. -
- referencing Science Magazine’s article here:

According to the article, squid hauls have dropped since 2003 in South Korea and Japan, and ‘unable to compete with the more technologically advanced Chinese vessels, which use powerful lights and other technologies to maximize the size of their catch, some North Koreans have resorted to fishing illegally in faraway Russian waters.’ International cooperation in managing fish stocks is breaking down.

This reminds us of comments made on Youtube five months ago by a South African-born businessman and vlogger who has worked and lived in China for years. ‘Serpentza’ (Winston Sterzel) says (starting 6:56 in the video below):

“China has completely outfished the waters off the coast of China and so their fishing trawlers must seek alternatives and the alternatives are: the rest of the entire world. 

“Clandestine Chinese fishing has decimated the fish stocks off the coast of South Africa, my country, and most of the African coast, where corrupt leaders are easily bribed to turn a blind eye while local fishermen and communities suffer greatly [...]

“There is no catch-and-release or sustainable fishing in the modern Chinese mentality. As a nation who recently experienced devastating famine, it’s a ‘take now before it’s all gone’ mentality.”

He also talks about Chinese economic activity that damages the environment, wildlife (e.g. by unrestricted hunting in Africa) and people’s health, while Chinese officialdom has great difficulty in enforcing laws that could prevent this.

A couple of months later he was on Instagram, reporting : “Chinese fishing ships off the coast of South Africa are illegally stripping the ocean of fish at an alarming rate yet nothing is being done, many people speculate that the South African government has been paid to turn a blind eye the same as what happened in Namibia”:

A report last month on Maritime Executive says that China plans two closed seasons on squid fishing in the Pacific and Atlantic, to help stocks recover:

“The closed seasons cover what are believed to be the main spawning grounds of the Humboldt squid, in waters to the west of Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, from July to September, and of the Argentine shortfin squid, off Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, from September to November.”

We shall see whether this is enforceable, and what other measures need to be and will be taken. The magazine also links to a site called ‘China Dialogue Ocean‘, saying ‘China Dialogue Ocean ( is dedicated to illuminating, analyzing and helping to resolve our ocean crisis.’ We hope this is more than merely PR in these difficult times for international diplomacy.


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