The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), a non-governmental organization (NGO), called on all nations to implement cost-effective and freely available measures that would give all stakeholders much greater control over their supply chains. in seafood.
Thus, China’s high seas fleet was plagued by human rights abuses and illegal fishing, and targeted threatened and protected marine life across the global ocean.
China’s maritime fleet continues to harm developing countries by losing billions of dollars in revenue and contributing to unsustainable levels of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, which threatens all livelihoods and food security. fishermen and legitimate communities.
The appeal follows an investigation by the EJF into the global impact of illegal fishing and human rights abuses in China’s vast ocean-going fleet, which found that state subsidies Chinese allowed the excessively overcapacity fleet to exploit the waters of nations such as Ghana that needed marine resources for livelihoods and food security.
Such conditions, according to the EJF, encouraged rampant illegal fishing in Ghanaian waters and as such, intensified efforts were urgently needed to ensure the safety of their navy.
These were in a statement issued and signed by Mr. Steve Trent, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the EJF and copied to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Cape Coast.
During investigations, the statement said testimony from more than 100 crew on board 88 vessels showed that 95% said they had witnessed some form of illegal fishing.
Regarding the exploitation of the waters of developing countries, the report indicates that the Chinese fleet has become an important presence in many developing countries and regions which have limited capacity to monitor fishing vessels but are highly dependent on fishing for food security and local livelihoods.
“Africa stands out, accounting for 78.5% of fishing projects approved by the Chinese government in the waters of other countries. In West Africa, China’s bottom trawler fleet catches around 2.35 million tonnes of seafood each year – by some estimates around half of China’s total distant water catch – valued at more than $5 billion.
Many fish populations in the region – such as ‘small pelagic’ fish in Ghana – are heavily exploited, to the point of collapse, which would be catastrophic for coastal communities. »
From this perspective, Mr. Trent said these state-subsidized ships are ravaging the ocean, committing human rights abuses and causing environmental injustices, while hiding behind corporate structures on land. complexities preventing those responsible from being held to account.
That the findings highlighted the Chinese government’s overall failure to effectively monitor and regulate its deep-sea fleet, but also reveal a wider international problem: the shocking lack of transparency in the sector.
He noted that any country importing fish caught by Chinese vessels should require full transparency throughout the supply chain.
This, he said, was the only way to be sure that consumers did not end up eating fish caught by slaves, resulting in the destruction of our ocean.