Tag Archives: China

Wasting fish resources.

According to a recent report one in three fish caught never makes it to the plate as it is either thrown back overboard or rots before it is eaten. The recent report also shows that total fish production has reached a record high, mainly because of fish farming, especially in China. Half the fish that is consumed in the world comes from aquaculture.

The amount of wild fish caught has not changed since the late 1980’s with a third of commercial fish species being over fished. Expansion of fish farms will continue and will produce 20% more fish by 2030 and this will help sustain people but could hurt wild fish populations as the feed of fish farms comes from wild fish such as sardines and anchovies.

Fish are crucial for the nutrition of billions of people but over fishing is rife in some areas of the globe, most notably in the Mediterranean, the Black seas and the Southeast pacific. Data suggests that wild fish stocks are declining faster than thought and now half of the world’s oceans are industrially fished.

The recent report suggests that 35% of global catches are wasted. Most of these losses are due to ignorance as well as a lack of refrigeration needed to keep fish fresh. To cut losses other solutions include raised racks for drying fish on land and better facilities for handling crabs have cut losses of these by 40%.

The report is clear that aquaculture is here to stay and will continue to expand as more and more people eat fish. Most fish now eaten come from fish farms, 53% exactly. But fish farming is not sustainable in the long run as other fish are used as feed and this is a waste of food. Curbing the amount of fish that is wasted could go a long way in reducing the pressure on wild fish populations now and in the future as well as reducing the reliance on fish farming


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Over fishing the oceans.

A new map just published shows how much of the oceans are being over fished. More than half of the world’s oceans are now being fished by industrial vessels and more than 70,000 vessels cover a greater surface than agriculture on earth. As it stands, more than one-third of commercial fish stocks are caught at levels that cannot be sustained and fish stocks are in decline everywhere.

Among the findings are that five countries account for 85% of commercial fishing measured by hours at sea. China accounts for half of that number, and the others include Spain, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Let us not forget that people eat on average 20kg of fish each year but in developing countries, up to 70% of their proteins come from fish.

The only hope to prevent over fishing is that human beings restrain themselves. After all, on weekends and holidays the map shows sharp declines in fishing at these times. Cultural and political events impact on fishing show that humans still control the fate of the world’s fisheries.


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Pandas no longer in danger.

This is the good news according to Chinese scientists, that the panda is not in danger anymore. However, the natural habitat in China is in serious danger. According to researchers panda habitats have seriously declined since 1990.

The habitat of the panda has been divided into tiny sections by logging, human encroachment, road construction and agriculture. This process called fragmentation can and will have an effect on the future of the panda.

Once again, only the Chinese government can help the panda survive on a longterm basis. The government helped in the past by restoring bamboo forests and established national habitat reserves. By building corridors between panda populations and reducing the fragmentation of the habitat the government can ensure the survival of the panda, despite climate change.

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China’s appetite for fish.

We are depleting the world’s oceans of fish by over fishing, and now 90% of the world’s fisheries are fully exploited or are facing collapse. Millions of people in the world and especially in the developed world depend on the sea for food and income. One country above all has an enormous impact on the fisheries of the world, China.

China with its population and its growing wealth are directly affecting some of the fish in the oceans. Having depleted the fisheries close to home Chinese fishermen are now sailing further and further away to exploit other fisheries. With the home government subsidizing the fishing fleet exploiting far flung areas of the globe for fish is possible.

Africa is now the destination of choice for the Chinese fishermen, more precisely West Africa. They are drawn to the area by corruption and weak governments that cannot enforce their own laws. Experts now say that two-thirds of the Chinese boats engaged in fishing there contravene international or national laws.

To illustrate the power of this Chinese fishing fleet suffice to say that the fleet has now grown to 2,600 vessels while the United States as fewer than one-tenth as many. These ships are so large that they scoop up as many fish in a week as Senegalese boats catch in a year.

What makes all this possible is the subsidies that the Chinese government gives to the boat owners who without this could not fish off the coast of Africa. In some cases these subsidies made the difference between a profit or a loss for the them. And that does not include the subsidies given to Chinese ports.

The impact on a poor country like Senegal has been massive; fishing stocks have plummeted and the locals cannot compete with the mega trawlers used by the Chinese. With less sea products there is less income for them and this results in higher food prices for the Senegalese citizens.

But there is a push back now by some affected countries. Indonesia has impounded some Chinese boats caught poaching in their waters and the Argentines sank a Chinese vessel that tried to ram a coast guard boat. Clashes between Chinese fishermen and South Korean authorities have resulted in deaths.

Perhaps eventually the Chinese government will cut back on those subsidies, especially if the rate of growth diminishes in the future or if an ecological movement can flourish in China. Faint hopes of course when faced with a dictatorship such as the one found in China.

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