China announces moratoriums for squid fleet in Atlantic, Pacific

A Chinese squid-jigger.

China has announced a moratorium on fishing by its flagged fleet in the southwest Atlantic and in the eastern Pacific.

Administered by the Fisheries Regulation Bureau under the Chinese Agriculture Ministry, the fishing ban will impact 70 Chinese distant-water fishing firms and 600 vessels. However, the ministry said the moratorium will be “independent” and “self-enforced.”

The Atlantic fishing ban will take place between 1 July and 30 September and will cover the area from 32 degrees to 44 degrees south and 48 degrees to 60 degrees west. The East Pacific moratorium will take place 1 September 1 to 30 November and will cover the sea stretching from 5 degrees north to 5 degrees south and 95 to 110 degrees west.

The ministry said the move aims to conserve and rehabilitate squid stocks, similar to a moratorium on squid fishing implemented by China on its vessels in the southwestern Atlantic in 2020. The 2020 moratorium was successful, according to the statement, because this year’s squid catch was larger than last year. While the ministry is overseeing the moratorium – it licenses the country’s distant-water fishing fleet – local enforcement will also involve the China Distant-Water Fishing Association, an industry body, and the Shanghai Ocean University, one of the country’s top centers for ocean and fisheries research.

Last year, two Latin American conservation groups teamed up to fight illegal fishing of squid in the international waters of the southwest Atlantic and the Pacific. The Committee for the Sustainable Management of the Jumbo Flying Squid in the South Pacific (CALAMASUR), which includes industry stakeholders from Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru, joined forces with OPRAS, the Organization for the Protection of Resources in the Southwest Atlantic, to target illegal and unregulated fishing by foreign fleets in the region.

Photo courtesy of Sea Shepherd


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