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The U.S. Coast Guard releases new plan to combat illegal fishing, focusing on fishing boats from China

06:48 | 21/09/2020

The U.S. Coast Guard has released a new strategy to enhance global safety, security, and stewardship of the maritime domain by combatting Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

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The Coast Guard has released a new strategy to enhance global safety, security, and stewardship of the maritime domain by combatting Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, Seapower magazine, an official publication of the Navy League of the United States, cited a report by The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) recently.

According to USCG, IUU fishing is a collection of dishonest fishing practices, both on the high seas and in areas within national jurisdiction, that threatens global geo-political security and prosperity and weakens rules-based order; especially as the worldwide demand for fish as a protein source continues to grow.

the us coast guard releases new plan to combat illegal fishing focusing on fishing boats from china
The U.S. Coast Guard undertook a fisheries patrol as part of joint efforts for Operation Rai Balang under the Forum Fisheries Agency. Photo: U.S. Coast Guard / USCGC Sequoia

“It’s a huge problem. One in five fish caught around the world are from IUU, resulting in tens of billions of lost revenue for legal fishers each year”, cited the USCG’s report.

This IUU Fishing Strategic Outlook announces the Coast Guard’s commitment to leading an international effort to combat illegal exploitation of the ocean’s fish stocks and protect our national interests.

“The Coast Guard’s IUU Fishing Strategic Outlook outlines the service’s efforts to combat the scourge of IUU fishing over the next decade. We are committed to working with our allies and like-minded partners to strengthen the international fisheries enforcement regime and counter this pervasive threat,” said Adm. Karl L. Schultz, Commandant of the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard has been the lead agency for at-sea enforcement of living marine resource laws for more than 150 years. The service will continue to lead global efforts to build a multilateral coalition to detect and deter IUU fishing on the high seas and in the exclusive economic zones of partner nations in order to disrupt the corrupt cycle of influence that enables illegal operations.

Working with partners in the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense, the Coast Guard will advance a whole-of-government effort to promote economic prosperity and drive stability, legitimacy, and order in the maritime domain.

Schultz and officials from the Department of Defense, NOAA and the State Department appeared at a prerecorded panel discussion on Sept. 17 about IUU, hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Adm. Craig S. Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command, said he speaks with defense ministers from the Caribbean, South America, Ecuador, Chile and others and “this is in their top three, if not the top. … This is economics, and it’s threatening their livelihoods.”

the us coast guard releases new plan to combat illegal fishing focusing on fishing boats from china
The Coast Guard commits to lead an international effort to combat illegal exploitation of the ocean’s fish stocks. Photo: U.S. Coast Guard

Technology can help monitor illegal fishing, along with more information sharing, the officials said. Schultz said a Southcom ship recently helped Ecuador locate a 300-ship Chinese fleet operating just outside of Ecuador’s waters, and which was probably engaging in illegal fishing.

Boats from China makes up about 60% of all IUU fishing, said Dr. Whitley Saumweber, who moderated the event.

“It’s right to focus on China because of their dominance, but we should not forget they are not the only actors in this space,” he said.

An article published by South China Morning Post on September 20, cited a report from USCG saying that “The People’s Armed Forces Maritime Militia, estimated to include more than 3,000 vessels, actively carries out aggressive behavior on the high seas and in sovereign waters of other nations to coerce and intimidate legitimate fishers in support of the Chinese Communist Party’s long-term maritime strategic goals”.

In order to deal with the issue, “The US Coast Guard will shine a light on the activities of those who violate international rules-based order, exposing and holding accountable the most egregious predatory actors,” said the report.

the us coast guard releases new plan to combat illegal fishing focusing on fishing boats from china
It is reported that boats from China makes up about 60% of all IUU fishing. Photo: SCMP
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Tony Nguyen

Sea Power, SCMP