JOAL, Senegal — Once upon a time, the seas teemed with mackerel, squid and sardines, and life was good. But now, on opposite sides of the globe, sun-creased fishermen lament as they reel in their nearly empty nets.
“Your net would be so full of fish, you could barely heave it onto the boat,” said Mamadou So, 52, a fisherman in Senegal, gesturing to the meager assortment of tiny fish flapping in his wooden canoe.
A world away in eastern China, Zhu Delong, 75, also shook his head as his net dredged up a disappointing array of pinkie-size shrimp and fledgling yellow croakers. “When I was a kid, you could cast a line out your back door and hook huge yellow croakers,” he said. “Now the sea is empty.”
Overfishing is depleting oceans across the globe, with 90 percent of the world’s fisheries fully exploited or facing collapse, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. From Russian king crab fishermen in the west Bering Sea to Mexican ships that poach red snapper off the coast of Florida, unsustainable fishing practices threaten the well-being of millions of people in the developing world who depend on the sea for income and food, experts say.
But China, with its enormous population, growing wealth to buy seafood and the world’s largest fleet of deep-sea fishing vessels, is having an outsize impact on the globe’s oceans.
Having depleted the seas close to home, Chinese fishermen are sailing farther to exploit the waters of other countries, their journeys often subsidized by a government more concerned with domestic unemployment and food security than the health of the world’s oceans and the countries that depend on them.
Increasingly, China’s growing armada of distant-water fishing vessels is heading to the waters of West Africa, drawn by corruption and weak enforcement by local governments. West Africa, experts say, now provides the vast majority of the fish caught by China’s distant-water fleet. And by some estimates, as many as two-thirds of those boats engage in fishing that contravenes international or national laws.
China’s distant-water fishing fleet has grown to nearly 2,600 vessels (the United States has fewer than one-tenth as many), with 400 boats coming into service between 2014 and 2016 alone. Most of the Chinese ships are so large that they scoop up as many fish in one week as Senegalese boats catch in a year, costing West African economies $2 billion a year, according to a new study published by the journal Frontiers in Marine Science.
The Latest on: Overfishing
Climate Change Brought a Lobster Boom. Now It Could Cause a Bust.
on June 21, 2018 at 3:40 am
Image Dave Cousens has benefited from the lobster boom but said he was concerned about the future of the business.CreditGreta Rybus for The New York Times Scientists say a variety of factors have contributed to the boom, including overfishing of predators ... […]
Our View: Time for NOAA to let Sector IX fish again
on June 20, 2018 at 4:33 pm
So after months of NOAA saying it could not let Sector IX fishermen back on the water because it didn’t know how much overfishing took place in the sector dominated by Rafael, now the federal agency knows. We don’t officially know it from NOAA ... […]
Warming oceans may spark international ‘fish wars’
on June 20, 2018 at 4:20 pm
Past studies show that newly shared fisheries often spark conflict among nations. Conflict leads to overfishing, which reduces the food, profit, and employment fisheries can provide, and can also fracture international relations in other areas, researchers ... […]
Climate change moving fish north, threatening turf wars, study says
on June 20, 2018 at 8:20 am
The danger comes from overfishing when countries can’t cooperate, he said. Consumers and economies are harmed by overexploitation. “If there’s a fish fight, you end up with less fish for everyone — less fish on every plate, fewer jobs for local ... […]
Overfishing threatens human health
on June 19, 2018 at 12:20 pm
People around the world are eating more fish. While this is generally good for their health, a researcher from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health cautions that the growing demand is putting a potentially catastrophic strain on the world’s fisheries. […]
via Google News and Bing News