They have become a plague that grew in the pandemic. They are spreading in different countries but mainly in the Latin continent where the laws and limitations of international waters are lighter. They are plundering the Atlantic, the Caribbean and the Pacific. They are old ships where sometimes the workers are in slavery. Part of the crew is armed. They are ocean pirates.
A total of 27 Chinese fishing boats remain at mile 201 and threaten Argentina’s natural resources for these hours. In addition, part of that clandestine navy that plundered the waters in the Galapagos Islands, Peru and Chile, have already crossed the Strait of Magellan to the Atlantic Ocean. But it is not only the Pacific that they are approaching to stay crouched in the 201 mile of the Argentine Sea.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. The international NGO Oceana has been following the movements of the controversial Chinese fishing fleet that was in July and August fishing near the Galapagos National Park in Ecuador. And it found that the more than 300 boats did indeed leave that region, as promised by Chinese authorities at the time, but moved further south and are now on the edge of Peru’s Exclusive Economic Zone and almost certainly moving towards Chile.
In their surveillance they detected that 126 of the vessels were between August 14 and September 19 fishing between Ecuador and Peru. This reduction in the number of vessels is not due to the fact that the others have left or disappeared. Marla Valentine, an analyst for Illegal Fishing and Transparency of Oceana in the United States, said that “it is likely that they are turning off their automatic identification systems,” a practice often used by these types of fleets. A technique that, by the way, is illegal.
There have also been reports of cargo being transferred from one ship to another, a practice known as transshipment, which allows for the emptying of holds to continue filling them with fish. It may not be surprising to learn that this practice, which avoids the need to reach a port, is also illegal.
The United States had already warned the Peruvian government of the fleet’s presence. Through Twitter, the Washington Embassy in Lima reported that “a fleet of more than 300 Chinese flag ships with a history of changing ship names and disabling GPS tracking is off Peru. Overfishing can cause enormous ecological and economic damage. Peru cannot afford such a loss.