More than a hundred miles from shore, near the coast of West Africa, I accompanied marine police officers from Gambia as they arrested 15 foreign ships on charges of labor violations and illegal fishing over the course of a week in 2019. All but one of the vessels arrested were from China. At the beginning of that same year, during a monthlong voyage on a toothfish longliner headed into Antarctic waters from Punta Arenas, Chile, the only other ships we passed were a dozen rusty Chinese purse seiners--fishing boats using long curtainlike nets--that looked barely seaworthy. Aboard a South Korean squid boat in May 2019, I watched nearly two dozen ships flying Chinese flags make their way single file into North Korean waters, in flagrant violation of United Nations sanctions. They were part of the world's largest fleet of illegal ships: 800 Chinese trawlers fishing in the Sea of Japan as of 2019, revealed in a recent investigation for NBC.
Department of Agriculture urges anyone who receives an unsolicited seed packet to contact local agricultural officials; reaction and analysis from Gordon Chang, author of'The Coming Collapse of China.' The largest Chinese fishing fleet in recent years appeared off the coast of the Galapagos Islands, with some ships falsifying their locations, according to reports. While the islands have been declared a Unesco world heritage site since the 70s, Chinese fishing vessels sail through every year. This year's fleet hosted 248 vessels, 243 of which were flagged to China, with some registered to companies suspected of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, the Guardian reported. The fleet may have attempted to appear as though it was not near the Galapagos at all.
Satellite imaging has revealed hundreds of vessels from China fishing off the coast of North Korea, violating UN resolutions prohibiting such activity in the largest known case of vessels from one country operating unlawfully in another country's waters. More than 800 vessels were seen in 2019, say researchers at the non-profit Global Fishing Watch, who traced the boats to Chinese ports and waters. A similar number were seen in 2017 and 2018. They estimate that the vessels, about a third of China's long-range fishing fleet, caught more than 160,000 tonnes of flying squid, rivalling the Japanese and South Korean total. Stocks of the squid, the main commercially fished species in the area, have declined dramatically in recent years.
In a surprise outcome, the European Parliament voted 16 January to ban a type of electric fishing that has demonstrated environmental benefits, as part of legislation to reform Europe's fisheries. The proposed end to "pulse trawling"--in which short bursts of electricity get flatfish out of the sediment and into nets--is a major disappointment to Dutch fishing companies, which have invested heavily in the technology; they claim it is less damaging to marine ecosystems than traditional bottom trawling and saves energy. But fishing groups in other EU countries are increasingly angry about competition from the Dutch pulse trawlers. Other nongovernmental organizations say pulse trawling has promise to reduce environmental impacts and that ending it now would penalize the fishing industry for innovating. The vote is just the first step in negotiations with the European Commission and member states over the large package of fisheries reforms.
The British government had no desire to test in public the validity of the Bruges Charter and the legal power of personal decrees made by Kings and Queens in open court. To Victor and to the fishing crews of Bruges that was a tacit admission that the fishing privileges granted by a grateful Crown around the time that Sir Christopher Wren was designing St Paul's Cathedral remained valid around the time the Beatles were beginning to top the charts. And no-one in the UK, it seems, cared to contradict him.