Chinese fishing boats take advantage of Latin American countries’ difficulties

Latin American countries’ difficulties in protecting areas close to international waters are being taken advantage of by Chinese fishing vessels. Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay, Chile, and Mexico are some of the countries that directly suffer from the impact of Chinese fishing vessels, Dialogo reports.

Dialogo is a publication maintained by United States Southern Command (US SOUTHCOM) devoted to building partnership and cooperation among partner nations in its area of responsibility.

Fisheries director of Oceana, an international organization for the protection of oceans, Juan Carlos Sueiro said Chinese fishing vessels are always in international waters, fishing near Latin American countries’ maritime borders.

“The areas near Peru and Argentina have the largest congregation of these vessels in the world. It’s not that they can’t fish in international waters, but their close presence generates controversy,” Sueiro said as quoted by Dialogo.

“For example, Oceana already identified vessels entering into Peruvian waters without a license or with duplicated ID,” he added. “We also detected transshipments in the area near the Peruvian border. Refrigerated fishing vessels can be found in international waters to transfer their captures, fuel, and supplies. Although transshipment may be legal, in many cases it might also be helpful to launder the profits of illegal fishing, especially on open seas.”

Uruguay’s Organization for the Conservation of Cetaceans head Rodrigo García Píngaro said “the Asian market is hungry for seafood protein, whatever species that may be and whatever pays the most.”

“They fish in large boats for whatever is available, even better if it’s trawling, because they leave the so-called ghost nets adrift,” Píngaro added.

Dialogo said the US and Ecuadorean navies conducted a naval passing exercise (PASSEX) on the Pacific Ocean, November 22, 2018, focused on preventing, deterring, and eradicating illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.

“But the fight is not easy. China clearly intends to exploit regional seas, and many species already suffer the consequences. Confronting the Chinese voracity for marine resources requires a regional commitment that can’t wait,” Dialogo added.