A Chinese squid ship located in the port of Ulleung Island in South Korean waters in 2019. Photo The Outlaw Ocean Project. By Ian Urbina More than a hundred miles from shore, near the coast of West Africa, I accompanied marine police officers from Gambia as they arrested 15 foreign ships for labor violations and illegal fishing over the course of a week in 2019. All but one of the vessels arrested were from China. At the beginning of that same year, during a month-long voyage on a toothfish longliner headed into Antarctic waters from Punta Arenas, Chile, the only other ships we passed were a dozen rusty Chinese purse seiners that looked barely seaworthy. Aboard a South Korean squid boat in May 2019, I watched nearly two dozen ships flying Chinese flags make their way single file into North Korean waters, in flagrant violation of United Nations sanctions. They were part of the world’s largest fleet of illegal ships: 800 Chinese trawlers fishing in the Sea of Japan, revealed in a recent investigation for NBC. And this year, more than 340 Chinese fishing vessels appeared just outside the biodiverse and ecologically sensitive Galápagos Marine Reserve. Many of the ships… Read full this story
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