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Interview: UNCLOS arbitrator on China's illegal fishing by Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian May 12,2021   |  Source: Axios

South American governments need to do more to protect their sovereign waters from illegal fishing, Pablo Ferrara tells Axios.

Ferrara is an arbitrator at the Permanent Court of Arbitration for the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and a professor at the Universidad del Salvador in Argentina.

Why it matters: A surge in illegal fishing around the world is depleting fisheries and threatening ecosystems and the livelihoods of local fishers. Chinese fishing fleets, benefitting from government fuel subsidies that allow them to traverse distant oceans, are now a primary culprit.

What's happening: Chinese-flagged ships sail in fleets of up to hundreds of "factory vessels" that fish, process and freeze in industrial quantities, Ferrara explained. "It's unbearable. It has no comparison."

Chinese fleets often follow a route that takes them near the exclusive economic zones of South American nations, said Ferrara, and sometimes the boats will turn off their tracking devices so they can fish unobserved in waters where they aren't permitted to be.

South American governments have done little to stop the illegal activities, in part because they lack sufficient naval resources.

Details: Ferrara is helping spearhead a new civil society effort to pressure governments


© Axios Media, 2021

Theme(s): Fishing Craft, Gear and Fishing Methods.

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