During the current shrimping season, 39 trawlers will catch just over 4,000 metric tons of shrimp in Madagascar’s waters. But one company, with a five-year exploitation right, didn’t apply for licenses to trawl this year. Its idle vessels highlight both improving regulation and potential weaknesses in monitoring of the country’s fishing sector.

Chinese-owned Mada Fishery was only registered in 2021. The company bought exploitation rights for eight vessels. The company says it also bought eight shrimp trawlers, which spent part of last year being repaired at the state-owned shipyard at Antsiranana, on the northern tip of the island.

But Mada Fishery’s boats have a troubled history, according to an investigation by the Environmental Justice Foundation, an NGO that promotes environmental sustainability around the world. EJF says three of these trawlers previously violated fishing regulations off the West African coast and should be banned from operating in Malagasy waters.