The outrage of land grabs pales by comparison to the exploitation of vulnerable and increasingly rare ocean resources by some fishing nations.
As China’s giant fishing fleets plough the ocean unabated, small fishing nations are suffering devastating losses in their own marine capture and processing sectors. Their fishing vessels, not being able to compete with constant and extensive exploitation by Chinese fleets in neighbouring waters, are coming back to their home ports empty-netted.
Fiji has recently reported the closure of important segments of its tuna industry, with expected job losses of about 8,000 and growing concerns over its food security.
Maritime nations, entrusted by international law to be the stewards of the ocean, are in fact the main contributors to its devastation, as they are subsidising their ludicrously oversized and no longer profitable fishing fleets to continue their plunder. The Japanese government spends USD 4.6 Billion in subsidies to unprofitable fishing fleets, whilst China follows closely with subsidies of USD 4.1 Billion. Other States that dangerously subsidise their industrial fishing fleets are the EU (USD 2.7 Billion), the US (USD 1.8 Billion) and the Russian Federation (USD 1.5 Billion).
The impact on the oceans of the relentless overexploitation by the biggest fishing nations is profound. In the Pacific Ocean, valuable commercial species such as Albacore and Bluefin tuna are shrinking at unprecedented rates.
Sources: Pew Environment Group; Undercurrent News.