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The LA Times’ Susanne Rust reported on a brewing controversy surrounding China’s notorious “distant water” fishing fleet — it’s 17,000 vessels strong and has conducted dubious fishing operations off the coasts of West Africa, Argentina, and Japan. This past summer, a fleet of Chinese fishing boats was spotted in the waters surrounding the Galapagos Islands, which are a protected marine reserve. Due to COVID-19, the local tour boats and fishing vessels that acted as the unofficial guardians of the islands have been kept on land, leaving an opening for illegal fishing operations to take hold. More than 300 Chinese vessels, many equipped to hold 1,000 tons of fish, fished right along the border of the Galapagos Island Reserve, waiting to ambush migrating fish populations right on the line.
Why this Matters: The Galapagos Islands hold a bounty of flora and fauna; 20% of the species found in the Galapagos aren’t found anywhere else in the world. Illegal fishing in the region is anything but new, but in late August 2020, the number of illegal fishing vessels exploded. With China set to host the UN Conference on Biodiversity next year and holding the Chairmanship of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, it’s time to call them on their lawless fishing fleet.
The Galapagos Islands’ economy is 90% dependent on tourism and, due to COVID-19, that market has plummeted. Tour boats, which highlight the beauty of the islands’ ecosystem and emphasize conservation, have been docked for months, and restaurants and shops in residential areas have been closed. Before COVID-19, the islands saw up to 1,000 daily visitors, and although the onslaught of tourists can often threaten wildlife, the loss of income from the tourist economy leaves few resources with which to protect that wildlife. Fiddi Angermeyer, a local tour operator and business owner, expressed worry, “if there are no tourists, there is no park. And if there’s no park, there are no tourists.”
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer A new study has found that half of the nation’s tidal marshes are at risk of being destroyed by sea-level rise, most of them along the southern coasts of the contiguous U.S. Now, members of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, whose one million residents live along coastal areas stretching from Jacksonville, North Carolina, to […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer St. Petersburg, Florida, has fallen victim to what could be one of the most prolonged red tides in recent history. Hundreds of tons of dead sea life have washed up on shores as the ecological disaster takes root, and experts say the end isn’t yet in sight. Officials are trying to pinpoint […]
Seaweed could be the next crop sensation, as seaweed farms on the coast of Bali, Indonesia, take root underwater. India-based Sea6 Energy has designed a “sea combine” in the hopes of boosting the now small seaweed market to the forefront of sustainable aquaculture. The innovative catamaran sweeps over fields of seaweed, harvesting and replanting it […]
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