Quad to curb China’s illegal fishing in Indo-Pacific


August 20, 2022


Quad to curb China’s illegal fishing in Indo-Pacific

Representative Image. (Photo Credit - Reuters)

HONG KONG: Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) nations – the United States, Australia, Japan and India are planning to curb China’s illegal fishing in the Indo-Pacific using satellite tracking technology connecting surveillance centres in Singapore and India.

China is accused of being the biggest beneficiary of not-so-legal fishing, so much so that there is a risk of fish stock being depleted in the Pacific and the seas near the Chinese’ coast, reported The HK Post.

As per a UK-based media, Quad maritime initiative will use satellite technology to create a tracking system for illegal fishing from the Indian Ocean to the South Pacific by connecting surveillance centers in Singapore and India.

“It will enable these countries to monitor illegal fishing even when the boats have turned off the transponders which are typically used to track vessels.”

China has been the worst offender in the 2021 illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) Fishing index, which maps illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in 152 coastal countries. Chinese ships can be found everywhere in the world.

The Quad initiative comes in the wake of this menace in the Indo-Pacific, reported The HK Post.

The big vessels not only catch illegally, overexploit the marine resources but also leave a little for local boats by scooping up a major haul of fish. The problem of Chinese distant water overfishing has spread to the Pacific.

An armada of Chinese fishing vessels is encroaching territorial waters far away from China to find seafood, even Chinese experts are now beginning to admit that “global fish stocks are facing a crisis, with nearly all classified as either fully fully exploited, overexploited or significantly depleted”.

China is the largest contributor to this problem as a world leader in both fishery exports and imports, according to a paper by Dr Hongzhou Zhang of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and Genevieve Donnellon-May a master’s candidate in Water Science.

It is “simultaneously responsible for 15 per cent of the global total of caught fish and one-third of fish consumption worldwide”, they say.

Research suggests that Chinese fishing fleets have trespassed into the waters of over 90 countries and depleted stocks.

With the increasing geopolitical tension between the United States and China, “greater attention is being paid to IUU)fishing by Chinese fishing vessels in the Asia Pacific”. China has always been a coastal fishing nation.

Originally, it used to net what is called trash fish – smaller, cheaper coastal and bottom-dwelling fish species. In the last three decades, however, its tastes have improved.

The fishing activities, accordingly, evolved. It subsequently raised a Distant Water Fishing (DWF) fleet to cater to the ever-growing demand for wild-caught fish, reported The HK Post.

The fleet operates outside of a nation’s territorial waters of the exclusive economic zone.

When caught, they deny having violated any rules. These fleets fly under flags of convenience and take advantage of several loopholes in the laws. (ANI)