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Fish stocks in East Sea fall sharply

 Excessive fishing has caused fish stocks in the East Sea to plunge 95 percent since 1950, a recent report of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) showed.

Fish catches also suffered a steep decline of 75 percent in the past two decades.
According to the CSIS, increasing tensions in the East Sea are putting critical habitat at risk.

It said China has spent billions of USD to strengthen its fishing vessel fleet, and in 2018, some 7.2 billion USD was splashed out for Chinese fishermen to ensure that they can go on long offshore fishing trips in the waters.

Fierce disputes in the East Sea intensify competition among fishermen, and the resulting scramble for fish inflames the disputes.  In the disputed waters, fishermen of China’s neighbouring countries have been driven nearer to their shores, forcing fish prices to increase.

Director of China Ocean Institute Tabitha Mallory has reportedly insisted China has a huge advantage over its neighbours such as the Philippines, as it is able to dodge certain fishing regulations.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, she revealed one of the things China does is to dodge some of the resrictions that host countries put on foreign fishing vessels by registering its fleet in another country.

She quoted a recent report as saying that up to 1,000 fishing vessels operating this way are actually owned by China.

Meanwhile, Professor John McManus from the US University of Miami said fish population in the East Sea has been overexploited and driven to near the red line, while China has been the world’s top fish catcher and one of the world’s biggest sponsor for offshore fishing vessels./.