Ecuador jails Chinese crew for illegal fishing – China’s latest political and current affairs news


A summary of the top news in Chinese politics and current affairs for August 29, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.

“Zero tolerance for environmental crimes!” the Environment Minister of Ecuador tweeted (in Spanish) in response to news that the crew of a Chinese fishing boat was being punished for illegal activity near Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands.

The Chinese-flagged boat, named Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 (福远渔冷999), was caught on August 13 in the Galápagos marine reserve with over 300 tons of fish, including 6,600 sharks of largely protected or endangered species, AFP reports. A previous AFP report quotes an official who says that at least some of the fish appear to be sourced from inside the reserve.

On August 27, the captain of the boat was sentenced to four years in prison, the top three officers received three years each, and all other crew members will be behind bars for one year. Additionally, the crew was ordered to pay Galápagos National Park $5.9 million dollars. Reuters adds that Ecuador has “sent a formal protest to China over the presence of ships near the Galápagos” — AFP mentions that residents of the islands are unhappy with a fleet of around 300 Chinese boats that sit in international waters “just outside the marine reserve.”

Ecuador is not the only country dealing with illegal Chinese fishing off its coast. For example, in April, the New York Times reported (paywall) on how Chinese boats are swarming the oceans off of West Africa, decimating livelihoods in fishing villages in Senegal as they struggle to satisfy food demand back home. The Times cites research that indicates that in Senegal and elsewhere, “as many as two-thirds of those boats engage in fishing that contravenes international or national laws.”