China catches up to 70% of the world’s squid; their ships go as far as West Africa and Latin America to satisfy their appetites.
AFP / June 29, 2021 – 10:39 am
China announced that it will temporarily ban its fishing fleet, the world’s largest, from catching squid in parts of the Pacific and Atlantic where overfishing has brought those stocks to the brink of collapse.
China catches up to 70% of the world’s squid, and its ships reach West Africa and Latin America to satisfy the country’s appetite for seafood.
But Chinese vessels will suspend operations in the main squid spawning grounds in the southwestern Atlantic, near Argentina, from Thursday to September 30, and in parts of the Pacific from September to November, the Ministry of Agriculture said on Monday.
The ban comes as a result of the international backlash against China’s huge overseas fleet, accused of overexploiting and damaging fragile marine ecosystems.
The areas covered by the moratorium are breeding grounds for two of the most popular squid varieties: the Argentine short-fin squid and the Humboldt squid.
The populations of the Argentine short-finned squid were low in recent years. The average catch by Chinese vessels in the southwestern Atlantic was just 50 tonnes in 2019, compared with up to 2,000 tonnes previously, according to the Squid Fisheries Association of China.
“China is the world’s largest consumer of squid and the catch that is running out has left decision makers concerned,” said Zhou Wei, a marine ecosystem conservationist at Greenpeace China.
“Ensuring a stable supply of shellfish is important to ensure food security,” he added.
China’s distant water fishing fleet numbers more than 2,600 vessels, more than ten times that of the United States. Almost a third is dedicated to squid fishing.
“A ban on squid fishing – even temporarily – by China is critical to the health of the ocean, given the sheer size of the catches,” said Zhang Jihong, a marine biologist at the China Yellow Sea Fisheries Research Institute. .
The Chinese fishing industry employs more than 14 million people, and another 30 million depend on fish for their livelihoods.
But as stocks in their country are depleted, Chinese fishermen are sailing further afield and have become embroiled in maritime disputes.
Last year, hundreds of Chinese fishing vessels were spotted around marine sanctuaries off Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. (I)
Read the original coverage from El Universo at https://www.eluniverso.com/noticias/internacional/la-sobrepesca-china-lleva-a-las-poblaciones-de-calamares-al-borde-del-colapso-nota/
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