Title

Oceana Finds 300 Chinese Vessels Pillaging the Galapagos for Squid

Author Information

OCEANA

Date of Publication

2020 12:00 AM

Security Theme

IUU Fishing

Keywords

IUU fishing, China, Ecuador, Latin America, Galapagos, squid, fishing impacts, AIS tracking, AIS gaps, AIS avoidance

Description

“The Galapagos Islands are an oasis for ocean wildlife with more than 20% of their marine speciesi found nowhere else on Earth. This remote area, nearly 900 kilometers off Ecuador’s coast, was once a “living laboratory” that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. But today, the Galapagos is under siege by an industrial fishing fleet. In one month (July 13 – Aug. 13) nearly 300 Chinese vessels appeared to amass more than 73,000 hours fishing off the Galapagos Islands. This snapshot of fishing activity raises questions about the impact of this massive fishing armada on the oceans it sails. During the one-month period, 99% of the visible fishing activity,1 off the Galapagos was by Chinese-flagged vessels. The massive and ongoing fishing effort of this fleet threatens both ecological balance and livelihoods. Based on Global Fishing Watch (GFW) data, these 294 Chinese-flagged vessels were primarily targeting squid, which is essential to the diet of iconic Galapagos species such as fur sealsii and hammerhead sharks,iii as well as many commercial and recreational fish species such as tunaiv and billfishv that contribute to the local economy. This fleet’s actions run counter to fishing rules implemented by the Chinese government in recent months to improve sustainable fishing practices. What is happening now in the Galapagos raises the question of whether these “rules” were merely rhetoric by the Chinese government. China is the world’s largest fishing nation by far with a distant water fleet estimated to consist of as many as 17,000 vesselsvi (compared to the European Union and the United states which each have approximately 250 to 300 vessels) and accounts for 40% of the global fishing effort.vii Chinais also ranked the worst nation in the world by the IUU Fishing Index,viii a tool that analyzes many countries’ vulnerability, exposure and responses to IUU fishing, when it comes to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and its fleet has been routinely implicated in violations related to overfishing, targeting endangered shark species, illegal intrusion of jurisdiction, false licensing and catch documentation, and forced labor.ix"

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Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

Oceana Finds 300 Chinese Vessels Pillaging the Galapagos for Squid

“The Galapagos Islands are an oasis for ocean wildlife with more than 20% of their marine speciesi found nowhere else on Earth. This remote area, nearly 900 kilometers off Ecuador’s coast, was once a “living laboratory” that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. But today, the Galapagos is under siege by an industrial fishing fleet. In one month (July 13 – Aug. 13) nearly 300 Chinese vessels appeared to amass more than 73,000 hours fishing off the Galapagos Islands. This snapshot of fishing activity raises questions about the impact of this massive fishing armada on the oceans it sails. During the one-month period, 99% of the visible fishing activity,1 off the Galapagos was by Chinese-flagged vessels. The massive and ongoing fishing effort of this fleet threatens both ecological balance and livelihoods. Based on Global Fishing Watch (GFW) data, these 294 Chinese-flagged vessels were primarily targeting squid, which is essential to the diet of iconic Galapagos species such as fur sealsii and hammerhead sharks,iii as well as many commercial and recreational fish species such as tunaiv and billfishv that contribute to the local economy. This fleet’s actions run counter to fishing rules implemented by the Chinese government in recent months to improve sustainable fishing practices. What is happening now in the Galapagos raises the question of whether these “rules” were merely rhetoric by the Chinese government. China is the world’s largest fishing nation by far with a distant water fleet estimated to consist of as many as 17,000 vesselsvi (compared to the European Union and the United states which each have approximately 250 to 300 vessels) and accounts for 40% of the global fishing effort.vii Chinais also ranked the worst nation in the world by the IUU Fishing Index,viii a tool that analyzes many countries’ vulnerability, exposure and responses to IUU fishing, when it comes to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and its fleet has been routinely implicated in violations related to overfishing, targeting endangered shark species, illegal intrusion of jurisdiction, false licensing and catch documentation, and forced labor.ix"