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Beijing: The Chinese DWF (distant water fishing fleet) is present in all oceans. According to Investigative Journalism Reportika, it is frequently found guilty of breaking both national laws of the respective countries and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) (IJR).

Additionally, it engages in activities such as hunting down endangered species, falsifying documents and licences, spying, and reconnaissance, annexing territory, producing a lot of marine waste, and violating other countries’ exclusive economic zones.

Chinese DWF ship captains turn off their transponders while fishing illegally to avoid being observed in sensitive areas. It has been noted that these ships’ automatic identification systems (AIS) experience transmission pauses of at least eight hours when they are close to other nations’ EEZ.

According to the practise known as “marine radar evasion,” Chinese ships turn off their transponders when they are close to other nations’ exclusive economic zones (EEZs) in order to avoid being picked up by the AIS system.

China spent close to 10 million hours fishing outside of its own Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the high seas and other countries’ EEZs between 2019 and 2021, totaling more than 3 million hours in over 80 other countries’ EEZs.

The largest producer of fisheries and aquaculture products worldwide is China. The United Nations estimates that China consumes about 36% of the world’s total fish production and captures 15.2 million tonnes of marine life annually, or 20% of the global catch overall, according to IJR.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that China was among the top ten marine source global capture producers in 2020.

China’s fleets are now venturing farther afield to satisfy the rising demand for seafood because domestic fish stocks, including those in the South China Sea, have been depleted.

Beijing claims that its fleet of 2,500 ships for deep-water fishing, but according to numerous studies, there are more than 18,000 boats in the world’s oceans, according to IJR.

Oceanian nations are gravely concerned about Chinese fishing activities near the South China Sea, which have increased in direct proportion to PRC investments in infrastructure like ports and airports. Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, the Salomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga, Fiji, the Cook Islands, and Samoa all joined the Belt and Road Initiative between 2018 and 2019. (BRI). Chinese DWF boats caught illegally fishing sea cucumber in Palau’s territorial waters in 2020 were intercepted and detained.

The most developed nations in the region are Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii, all of which are governed by the United States. According to IJR, Chinese trawlers operating in South Australia, Chinese squid jiggers operating in New Zealand, and Chinese long liners operating in Hawaii pose a serious threat to those nations’ sovereignty.

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