Title

How IUU Fishing Plundered Latin America's Oceans

Author Information

Alessandro Ford

Date of Publication

2021 12:00 AM

Security Theme

IUU Fishing

Keywords

IUU Fishing, IUU Fishing, Latin America, China, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Ecuador, marine ecosystems, shark fins

Description

In 2021, some 350 Chinese-flagged vessels spent the first half of the year floating just beyond Argentina's territorial waters.There, the fleet – long accused of using unreported transhipments that mask illegal catches by transferring fish between boats and turning off transponders – plundered squid stocks. The ransacking was just one scenario in a broader spree of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing across the region in the past year, much of it driven by competition for diminishing catch.Regional semi-industrial vessels mimicked the predatory tactics of foreign fleets, using transhipments and encroaching on the waters of neighboring countries. Ecuador exported a record haul of shark fins, thanks to aggressive fishing tactics and laws that allow shark products to be sold if declared as accidental bycatch. In Mexico, Chile, and Brazil, local fishers broke seasonal bans and poached valuable species. This panoply of IUU fishing further depleted oceans and threatened marine ecosystems. Countries, however, began to search for ways to reel in the problem, signing agreements to extend reserves, increasing enforcement and sharing location data of fleets in a bid toward transparency.

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Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

How IUU Fishing Plundered Latin America's Oceans

In 2021, some 350 Chinese-flagged vessels spent the first half of the year floating just beyond Argentina's territorial waters.There, the fleet – long accused of using unreported transhipments that mask illegal catches by transferring fish between boats and turning off transponders – plundered squid stocks. The ransacking was just one scenario in a broader spree of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing across the region in the past year, much of it driven by competition for diminishing catch.Regional semi-industrial vessels mimicked the predatory tactics of foreign fleets, using transhipments and encroaching on the waters of neighboring countries. Ecuador exported a record haul of shark fins, thanks to aggressive fishing tactics and laws that allow shark products to be sold if declared as accidental bycatch. In Mexico, Chile, and Brazil, local fishers broke seasonal bans and poached valuable species. This panoply of IUU fishing further depleted oceans and threatened marine ecosystems. Countries, however, began to search for ways to reel in the problem, signing agreements to extend reserves, increasing enforcement and sharing location data of fleets in a bid toward transparency.