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Red flag day

China pledges to cut fleet sizes

CHINA has pledged to reduce its fleet of medium- and large-sized vessels by 8300, and its total fishing fleet by 20,000 vessels. The move comes after the announcement of a raft of policies aimed at controlling over-fishing. Late last year China came under fire at a meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fishing Commission at Denarau, Fiji for its failure to limit the extent of its operations in the region.

Similar sentiments were expressed 12 months earlier at Bali, Indonesia and were also aimed at Taiwan, Japan and the European Union. Small Pacific states have long argued that Distant Fishing Water Nations – basically the large countries which fish in the Pacific – have not done enough to ensure sustainable fisheries.

This means that they are an existential threat to regional economies, livelihoods and lifestyles. The large nations have consistently refused to acknowledge this. But a Chinese government document published by the Fisheries Department of China’s Ministry of Agriculture said the most recent policy was in response to “extensive problems due to exploitation of fisheries resources”.

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