Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands are all the way across the Pacific ocean far from East Asia.
But last year Chinese fishing boats showed up there and not just one the vessels are sailed right to the edge of the Island’s territorial waters and famous wildlife habitats that caused an international outcry. This summer the associated press and Spanish language broadcaster Univision documented the huge scale of Chinese fishing off. The coast of South America and found evidence of environmental human rights and international law violations. They look like city lights on the horizon. But this is an Armada of fishing vessels harvesting squid off South America to feed China’s enormous appetite for seafood and as investigations suggest with little regard for the environment workers rights or international law. Two-thirds of the world’s oceans are the high seas.
The high seas are like the wild West. They’re largely ungoverned. There’s no one country that’s responsible for enforcement out there. The Chinese vessels show signs of fishy business sailing with their mandatory transponders turned off broadcasting multiple electronic IDs or transmitting false information. Once again the Chinese ships have crossed the Pacific last year. They sailed to the rich fishing grounds around the Galapagos Islands because of overfishing closer to home. They have to venture far and in huge numbers last year.
It was really a wake-up call for the region. The increasingly vessels travel further and come to the hemisphere to find those fish. As a result South America’s own Pacific ocean fishermen are suffering. They are being overwhelmed by the foreign boats. There’s no maritime control no maritime authority that defends them. There’s also no one to defend the crews aboard the Chinese vessels.