New Galapagos protections welcome, but China’s global horde of fishermen must be confronted
In good news, President Guillermo Lasso of Ecuador has announced the expansion of the Galapagos Marine Reserve. With an additional 23,000 square miles, the Galapagos Total Protection Area will amount to nearly 75,000 square miles.
This follows years of Chinese overfishing in and around the Galapagos.
Ecuador last year monitored a huge Chinese fleet as it trawled the ocean near the Galapagos. But while Lasso is committed to ensuring the protection of the area, Ecuador’s means to do so are limited. Its defense budget is shrinking and its war fleet is small, made up of older ships. And while Lasso says Xi Jinping has assured him that China will respect Ecuador’s maritime exclusion zones, Xi’s disregard for the truth renders that commitment worthless. Indeed, we don’t need to look any further than Xi’s blatant deception on reducing carbon emissions. The Chinese leader did not even bother to attend the COP26 summit in Glasgow.
Either way, the Galapagos’ concern is just one part of a much larger crisis.
Reflecting an expansion of Chinese military imperialism in the East and South China Seas, China annually deploys tens of thousands of fishing vessels in global dredging operations. The countries of South America, West Africa and Southeast Asia in the Pacific have been particularly affected by this scourge. But China doesn’t care. Driven by a voracious appetite for squid and other delicacies beloved by its middle class, Chinese fleets are emptying the oceans figuratively and literally.
The Associated press Joshua Goodman recently plunged into deep concern, showing just how dire the situation is getting.
Goodman noted that “between November 2020 and May 2021, a total of 523 predominantly Chinese fishing vessels – 35% more than the previous season – were detected just beyond the 200 mile exclusive economic zone limit. sailors from Argentina, according to satellite data analyzed by Windward, a maritime intelligence company. Of that amount, 42% had turned off their security transponders at least once. Meanwhile, 188 of those same ships showed up near of the Galapagos, including 14 Chinese ships that disconnected in both oceans for an average of 34 hours each time. ”
This is how the Chinese operate: violate international maritime law by disabling their transponders in order to hide their number and nationality. This allows Beijing to plausibly deny that its ships are responsible.
Something must change. Let the world begin to act, if necessary with force, to stop this genocide of the fish. Or China will do to the oceans what it does to the Uyghurs: kill them.