Chinese fishing fleets threaten Galapagos wildlife as Xi seeks ties with South America | World | New

Chinese fishing fleets are threatening wildlife around the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador, an archipelago prized for its ecology and species diversity. Despite this, President Xi Jinping is seeking to establish closer relations with South American governments.

Ecuadorian authorities have accused Beijing of acting “with impunity” in the most biodiverse place on the planet, which is guarded by a 193,000 km² marine protected area.

Fishermen can make a fortune with highly prized catches, such as Humboldt squid, according to The Times.

Conservationists are increasingly concerned that the industrial-scale operation could also endanger populations of whales, turtles and seals.

Marla Valentine, of the environmental non-governmental organization Oceana, said: “It has become increasingly clear that Chinese commercial fishing interests are considerable and have potentially massive implications for global marine fisheries.

“Many species that would otherwise be protected in Ecuadorian waters can migrate or drift beyond this border and then become fair game for fishing.

“With a fleet of this size, fishing with such intensity, many of these prey items could be removed before reaching the Galapagos, where they would enter the food web and support local species.”

China’s fleet of nearly 3,000 vessels has already exhausted waters closer to home and is now going further afield for its catch, spending nearly 10 million hours outside China’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) a year. last.

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Local fisherman Alberto Andrade told the newspaper: “Our sea can no longer bear this pressure.

“The industrial fleets are razing the stocks and we are afraid that in the future there will be no more fishing.

Steve Trent of the Environmental Justice Foundation said: “Chinese vessels have repeatedly disappeared from tracking systems – which may be intentionally disabled – around the Galapagos, raising the possibility of illegal fishing greater than the recorded one.”

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