A CHINESE FISHING FLEET USING ILLEGAL MEANS ESCAPES MARINE RADAR BY DISABILITATING TRANSPONDERS NEAR OTHER COUNTRIES’ EEZ

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A CHINESE FISHING FLEET USING ILLEGAL MEANS ESCAPES MARINE RADAR BY DISABILITATING TRANSPONDERS NEAR OTHER COUNTRIES’ EEZ

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 individual countries and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) (IJR).

Additionally, it engages in actions such as hunting down endangered species, faking documents and permissions, spying, and reconnaissance, annexing territory, producing a lot of marine debris, and breaching other countries’ exclusive economic zones.

Chinese DWF ship captains turn off their transponders while fishing illegally to avoid being observed in sensitive locations. It has been noted that these ships’ automatic identification systems (AIS) have transmission gaps 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.

China is the world’s largest producer of aquaculture and captures fisheries. According to the United Nations, China consumes around 36 per cent of total global fish production and hauls in 15.2 million tonnes of marine life annually, a massive 20 per cent of the world’s annual catch, reported IJR.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), China ranked top of the top ten global capture producers in 2020 from Marine sources.

Having depleted fish stocks in domestic waters, including the South China Sea, the fleets of China are now traveling further afield to meet the rising demand for seafood.

Beijing says its distant water fishing fleet numbers 2,500 ships, but multiple studies claim that it is more than 18,000 boats in the world’s oceans, reported IJR.

Just off the South China Sea, countries in Oceania are seriously concerned about Chinese fishing activities, which increased proportionally with PRC’s investments in infrastructures like ports, and airports. Between 2018 and 2019, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Salomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga, Fiji, Cook Islands, and Samoa joined the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). In 2020, Palau intercepted and detained Chinese DWF boats illegally fishing sea cucumber in its territorial waters.

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