Well, the writing was on the wall. Large fishing nations have long asserted their physical and financial superiority in our shared oceans. Muscling their way into international negotiations, they have steadfastly refused to lower their quotas, kept their oversized fishing fleets artificially afloat with subsidies and refused to rein in furtive night time poaching by their trawlers, seiners and long liners into waters where they were not welcome.
Time after time we have seen the big bullies assert their dominance over the sea’s living creatures as if they had exclusive right to them.
And now, the consequences are beginning to emerge. There are reports today that the small island nation of Fiji, known for its marine beauty and abundance albacore, may have lost its tuna fishing industry at the hands, nets and hooks of the Chinese (http://fijilive.com/news/2014/01/tuna-fishing-industry-has-collapsed-southwick/56333.Fijilive)
As China keeps its growing fishing fleet awash with State sponsored subsidies, tax waivers and ship construction aid, Fiji’s fishing boats remain today tethered in their harbour, with nothing to catch. China’s predatory fleets are not only decimating a key ocean species, but they are also causing food insecurity in a small, vulnerable coastal nation ( http://www.atuna.com/index.php/2-uncategorised/485-albacore-crisis-can-cause-food-dilemma-in-fiji#.Ut5ZkJE4k18 ).
China is asserting its dominance in the Pacific, as Fiji shuts down one of its key economic sector and faces a dilemma that is likely to have deep repercussions for its economy and its people. Overfishing is the new disease of the small island nations and, as artificially large fleets supported by irresponsible nations continue to plunder the oceans, the cure may not be easy to find.