Five new Chinese trawlers set sail for Mozambique as distant-water catch soars

Published on
August 13, 2020

Just as five new Chinese vessels have set sail for Mozambique, one of the country’s top fishing hubs has reported a recovery in processing based on strong growth of distant-water catches.

The five vessels, which departed for the east African nation of Mozambique this week, are owned by the Guangdong Xie Sheng Distant Water Fishing Co., which said in a statement that the launch was in keeping with the Chinese government’s Belt & Road Initiative to expand China’s global footprint.

Built at the Lixin shipyard near Fuding city in Fujian province, the five vessels each measure 40 meters in length. They’ll be joined by five other similar trawlers currently under construction at Fuding for the same client.

Guangdong Xie Sheng has eight other vessels operating in Malaysian waters and has invested significantly in cold chain and processing facilities in Guangdong province, but also farms shrimp and grouper.

A surge in distant water fishing efforts, meanwhile, has led to the key fishery port of Zhoushan reporting strong growth in processing throughput for the first six months compared to the same period last year.

Fishery output for the province of Zhejiang rose by 17.1 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2020, according to the provincial agriculture ministry bureau. A document from the bureau suggests that 220 distant water vessels from the Dinghai processing district (home to the Zhoushan National Distant Water Fishery Base) landed 74,900 tons in the first half of the year, up 15.7 percent on the same period last year.

That’s largely down to a surge in processing of Argentine squid and tuna from several geographic regions in the Dinghai district of Zhoushan, which hosts numerous processing facilities.

All that distant water fishing isn’t without controversy. A number of countries in Africa, including Ghana, Senegal, and Liberia, have all decried the presence of large Chinese trawlers in local waters. Ecuador, as well, has called out a huge fleet of Chinese distant-water vessels that have set up near protected waters surrounding the Galapagos Islands.

Mozambique last autumn claimed it was losing USD 60 million (EUR 50 million) per year in lost fees and taxes due to illegal fishing of its waters. The country had sought to establish its own tuna fleet, an effort that ended in a high-profile debt default in recent years involving a European ship builder.

Mozambique has become a draw for Chinese investors. The China Ocean Fishing Holdings firm operates 300 direct sales ‘Haifu Mozambique Frozen’ shops selling seafood such as lobsters sourced by China Ocean Fishing Holdings Limited subsidiary in Mozambique.

Photo courtesy of Marieke Peche/Shutterstock 

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