The United States evaluates pact to stop Chinese fishing in the South American continent

Primicias Newsroom
25 March 2021

Several Chinese-flagged fishing vessels were identified by the Navy, near Galapagos, on July 16, 2020. – Photo: Courtesy

Every year, Chinese-flagged fishing boats perform operations in Pacific waters, including the area near the Galapagos Islands.

An intelligence agency recommended that the United States government lead a multilateral coalition with South American nations to tackle illegal Chinese fishing in the region, according to consultancy Axios Markets.

The diffusion of the document coincides with the premiere on Netflix of the documentary “Seaspiracy,” which denounces the destruction that indiscriminate fishing produces in the world’s seas.

Hundreds of Chinese fishing vessels appear every year in international waters of the South Pacific to carry out fishing operations, nearing the exclusive areas of ​​interest of each country, which has been demanded by nations and conservation institutions.

“South American countries would welcome a coalition effort to increase trade pressure on China and enforce fisheries regulations,” according to the Office of Intelligence and Analysis (OIA) . ”

Unilateral pressure from the United States would likely result in China applying similar sanctions, just as Beijing did when enacting a new law to counter US restrictions on technology companies,” the statement added. The OIA document, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, was listed as “sensitive, but not classified.”

In the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Convemar), the concept of Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMO) is created.

Any country in the world that wants to fish at sea with its boats has to belong to one of them. Chinese ships, for example, are listed in the South Pacific RFMO.

Galapagos effect

The presence of Chinese fishing vessels off the Galapagos has sounded the alarms of countries and conservation organizations.

The issue is considered so serious that the actor and activist, Leonardo Di Caprio, visited Galapagos in early March and met with President Lenín Moreno regarding a private agenda, which included the conservation of the environment .

There is even the proposal of organizations such as the National Animal Movement or Pacific Whale Foundation to increase the protected area of ​​Galapagos from 40 to 80 miles , to safeguard marine biodiversity.

US government sources indicate that representatives of the United States Coast Guard, the Office of Naval Intelligence , the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the State Department have participated in the analysis of what is happening in the region’s seas.

The document assessed with “high confidence” that Chinese fishing in South American waters would also “cause continued economic damage to US national fisheries as a result of anti-competitive practices.”

It assessed with “medium confidence” that China is likely “to continue exploitative fishing practices in South American waters despite recent actions by governments and an intergovernmental organization to limit these activities.”

It also assessed with “medium confidence” that South American countries would welcome a coalition to increase enforcement of fishing regulations.

An old fight

This is not the first time the United States has set its sights on the Chinese fishing fleet .

The Maritime Safety and Fisheries Enforcement Act (SAFE), passed in December 2019, established a “whole-of-government approach ” to combat illegal fishing.

In May 2020, former President Donald Trump issued an executive order to combat illegal fishing on the high seas and help promote America’s competitiveness in the industry.

In September 2020, the State Department added fish caught by China’s distant-water fishing fleets to its list of forced labor- produced goods.

And, according to government sources, President Joe Biden’s priority is defending the American fishing industry.

Former Chinese President Hu Jintao called for China to become a major maritime power and, in 2013, China’s State Council elevated the fishing industry to the level of strategic.

The Chinese government provides subsidies to the fishing industry, allowing ships to cover fuel costs to sail to distant shores, including those near South America.

Read the original coverage from Primicias at

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