Dalian fishing port. (Photo: Xinhua/Wang Xizeng)
China cracks down on illegal fishing to protect marine environment
Sunday, September 10, 2017, 10:50 (GMT + 9)
The Police force in Dalian, a major port in China's northeast, have been busy over the past few weeks patrolling ports and harbours to monitor illegal fishing.
A four-month fishing ban ended on September 1 and thousands of fishermen have resumed their operations.
In May, China's Ministry of Agriculture ordered a one-month extension to the previous ban. From May 1 to September 1, fishing was prohibited in rivers and offshore areas during the spawning season for most aquatic life.
Starting from August 25, officers in Dalian have inspected 200 ports, and those who did not have approval documents were not allowed to set sail, said Song Xianguo, deputy Party secretary of the police department.
A total of 82 boats were seized after failing to obtain documentation, and about 100 people were found to have faked documentation, according to the police.
China has carried out fishing bans for many years to preserve fish resources in major oceans, said Lin Shanqing, deputy director of State Oceanic Administration.
During the ban, police stepped up law enforcement and carried out awareness campaigns.
This year, Dalian police dispatched 9,000 officers to monitor illegal fishing. Over 500 boats were seized, more than 270 people were fined for providing logistics for the boats and 180 others were caught illegally ordering or purchasing the catch.
"We are trying to establish a system which records the data of all boats, fishermen, owners, captains and crew members, so that we can quickly discover malpractice cases," said Song Xianguo.
So far, information has been collected on 2,400 boats and 3,300 people.
Overexploitation of offshore fisheries has damaged the biodiversity of the sea, which can be seen around Haiyang Island in Changhai County, about 73 nautical miles from Dalian, one of the four largest fishery areas in China.
In the first half of the year, fish farming output has grown, but the wild fish catch in the county dropped by 25.9 per cent.
"We hope, with the extension of the ban, the environment will be improved so that we can catch more high-quality fish and seafood," said Wang Huan, a fisherman who lives in Changhai.
Since 2013, Dalian has spent CNY 184 million (USD 27 million) to put fish fry, juvenile fish able to feed themselves, into the sea.
In Tianjin Municipality, the fishery authority issued CNY 400,000 in fines during the ban and detained one person for violation.
A fishing ban was set in the South China Seaended on August 16. During this period, 92 cases of illegal fishing were reported, down 30 per cent from last year, according to Hainan provincial maritime and fishery authorities.
The authorities increased supervision and asked members of the public to report violations during the ban. (Xinhua)