Greenpeace: Dozens of Chinese boats fishing illegally in West Africa

2015-05-20 13:03

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Beijing - At least 74 Chinese vessels have fished illegally on prohibited fishing grounds off the coast of West Africa, according to findings from a two-year study by Greenpeace East Asia and Greenpeace Africa released on Wednesday.

"While China extended a hand in friendship during the Ebola outbreak, rogue Chinese companies were unlawfully exploiting West Africa's marine environment," said Rashid Kang, head of Greenpeace East Asia's China Ocean Campaign.

"They were taking advantage of weak enforcement and supervision from local and Chinese authorities to the detriment of local fishermen and the environment," Kang said.

From 2000 to 2014 there were 82 suspected cases reported of illegal or unregulated fishing and cases where vessels underreported their catches in order to evade fees and access restricted zones, according to the study.

As a result of declining domestic fish stocks the number of Chinese fishing boats in Africa have soared in recent decades, from 13 vessels in 1985 to 462 vessels in 2013, the group said.

The Greenpeace report followed a 2013 study by researchers at Canada's University of British Columbia which found Chinese vessels operating in foreign waters caught an average of 4.6 million tons of fish annually between 2000 and 2011, valued at a total of $12bn.

In waters off West Africa during that period, Chinese boats caught an estimated 3.1 million tons of fish, of which an estimated 80% was unreported, according to the study.

Read more on:    greenpeace africa  |  china  |  environment  |  west africa

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