Who Issues Fishing Permits for Chinese Vessels in the Indian Ocean?

By Soko Directory Team / Published May 28, 2024 | 3:52 pm



Fishing

The issuance of fishing permits for Chinese vessels operating in the Indian Ocean is a complex process involving multiple regulatory bodies.

These permits are generally issued by the coastal states within the region, and the management and regulation of these activities are influenced by international organizations such as the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC).

Regulatory Bodies and Permits

In countries bordering the Indian Ocean, national authorities such as the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) and Tanzania’s Deep Sea Fishing Authority are responsible for issuing fishing permits to Chinese vessels. These permits regulate fishing activities within their respective Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) and ensure compliance with local fishing regulations. For instance, Kenya recently withdrew permits from six Chinese vessels due to violations of local fishing laws and mistreatment of local seafarers.

International Oversight

The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) plays a crucial role in managing tuna fisheries in the Indian Ocean. This body, comprising various member states, issues authorizations for tuna fishing, which includes Chinese vessels. The IOTC’s regulations are intended to promote sustainable fishing practices and ensure that member states adhere to agreed-upon fishing quotas and conservation measures.

Challenges and Violations

Despite these regulatory frameworks, there are significant challenges in enforcing fishing regulations. Investigations have revealed systemic illegal fishing practices and human rights abuses on Chinese fishing vessels in the Indian Ocean. The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) reported widespread illegal activities, including shark finning and abusive working conditions for crew members, highlighting the inadequacies in enforcement and monitoring by both national and international bodies.

China’s Response and Investments

China has heavily invested in fisheries infrastructure through initiatives like the Belt and Road Initiative. These investments often come with opaque terms, raising concerns about their impact on local communities and ecosystems. The Chinese government denies allegations of illegal fishing and human rights abuses, asserting a commitment to sustainable practices and worker protections. However, reports from multiple sources, including crew testimonies, contradict these claims.

Regional Cooperation and Enforcement

Effective regulation of Chinese fishing activities in the Indian Ocean requires enhanced cooperation among regional states and international organizations. The use of technologies like the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) and satellite tracking can improve surveillance and enforcement. Moreover, coastal states need to implement stringent transparency measures to better understand and manage who is fishing in their waters, how, and under what conditions.

Impacts on Local Fisheries

The presence of Chinese fishing fleets has significant implications for local artisanal fisheries. Illegal fishing practices by these fleets can deplete fish stocks, threatening the livelihoods of local fishermen and disrupting marine ecosystems. Coastal communities in countries like Tanzania and Kenya have reported declining fish catches and increased competition from well-equipped Chinese vessels, exacerbating local economic hardships.

The regulation and management of Chinese fishing vessels in the Indian Ocean are critical issues involving national authorities, international organizations, and regional cooperation. While permits are issued by coastal states and overseen by bodies like the IOTC, effective enforcement remains a challenge. Addressing illegal fishing and protecting the rights of crew members require concerted efforts to enhance transparency, monitoring, and regulatory frameworks.

For sustainable fisheries and the protection of marine resources in the Indian Ocean, it is imperative that all stakeholders—governments, international organizations, and civil society—work together to enforce regulations and promote responsible fishing practices.

Read Also: Shadow Waters: How Bribery And Corruption Enable Chinese Illegal Fishing




About Soko Directory Team

Soko Directory is a Financial and Markets digital portal that tracks brands, listed firms on the NSE, SMEs and trend setters in the markets eco-system.Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/SokoDirectory and on Twitter: twitter.com/SokoDirectory

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