China’s distant water fleet — by far the world’s largest — is rife with human rights abuses and illegal fishing, and targets endangered and protected marine life across the world’s oceans, according to a new report released by the Environmental Justice Foundation.
In the most comprehensive analysis of the fleet to date, EJF shows that China’s state subsidies have allowed the grossly overcapacity fleet to exploit the waters of developing nations that rely on marine resources for livelihoods and food security.
This destruction is enabled by the often total lack of transparency across global fisheries, EJF claims, and to prevent it, all nations must implement freely available, cost-effective measures that would give all stakeholders much greater control over their seafood supply chains.
Steve Trent, CEO and founder of the Environmental Justice Foundation, said:
“These state-subsidized vessels are ravaging the ocean, committing human rights abuses and driving environmental injustice, all while hiding behind complex onshore corporate structures preventing those responsible from being held to account. These findings highlight the overarching failure of the Chinese government to effectively control and regulate its distant-water fleet, but also reveal a wider international problem: the shocking lack of transparency across the sector.
“As well as China controlling its fleet, any nation importing fish caught by Chinese vessels should be demanding full transparency along the whole supply chain. That is the only way we can be sure that we, as consumers, don’t end up eating slave-caught fish and driving the destruction of our ocean.”
You can read the foundation’s report here or check out the EJF video below, but be warned — some of the images and scenes in the video are disturbing.
John Liang is the News Editor at DeeperBlue.com. He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.