China threatens West African economies as it increasingly overfishes

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By Lisa Hladik World News Editor Overfishing is becoming a serious issue as oceans around the globe are becoming depleted. According to the Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, 90 percent of fisheries worldwide are either harvesting to their maximum potential or have overharvested (which could lead to their collapse). These unsustainable fishing practices could be a major economic hit to millions of people in the developing world who rely on the ocean and fishing industry as their main source of income and food. One of the major culprits in this overfishing problem is China. A country with a massive population and growing wealth, China is a major seafood buyer. China also maintains control of the world’s largest fleet of deep-sea fishing vessels, which also have a detrimental impact on fish populations in international waters. Because of this massive demand, the Chinese government subsidizes fisherman to enable them to sail into deeper waters. Thus, China’s government is providing for its own domestic welfare, while ignoring other nations that depend on the ocean’s resources. One of the major areas where Chinese fisherman make their long fishing treks is off the coast of West Africa. This area provides a prime opportunity for fishing because these West African nations are plagued by corrupt governments and weak law enforcement. By continuing to fish in these waters, about two-thirds of the Chinese deep-water fleet is breaking international or national laws. The size of the fleet has grown in size. It is made up of 2,600 vessels. Over 400 of these vessels alone were added to the fleet over the past two years. Both the size and sheer number of these boats poses a problem. Chinese fishing boats are often so massive, they are able to catch more fish in a week than Senegalese boats catch in one year. Thus. the Chinese economy has an estimated cost of over $s billion dollars to West African economies, according to the Frontiers in Marine Science. The Chinese government is the main source of backing for distant fishing in Senegal. Over the past three years, the Chinese government has spent nearly $22 billion in subsidies for Chinese fisherman, which is nearly triple the amount the nation previously spend on the fishing industry. The Chinese government has shown even more support by granting tax breaks to coastal cities home to big local fishing companies. As a result of China’s dominance in global fishing, West African nations like Senegal that rely on fisheries are facing economic turmoil. Because of this conflict of interests, China has already been in and is set for my maritime clashes.

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