Beijing: Chinese Distant Water Fishing Fleet (DWF) vessels have been spotted fishing rare and protected species and disturbing the marine ecological balance. These DWFs are found in international waters near Japan and South Korea in the Asiatic continent and Ecuador, Chile, and Argentina in the South American continent, reported.

Even after being 19,000 to 22,000 km away from China these DWF have been caught fishing near America's coastal regions. The report said that in early July 2020, the Ecuadorian navy reported the presence of about 260 fishing vessels at the edge of Ecuador's EEZ (exclusive economic zones). By the end of the month, the number increased to 340. These DWFs, according to the report, have been catching somewhere between 50-70 per cent of the world's total squids.

The Galapagos Islands a part of Ecuador's territory, are the worst victim. The EEZ of Ecuador's mainland and the Galapagos do not overlap, thus creating an international corridor where any country can fish. In the area, the DWFs from China openly fish and turn off their identity transponders to avoid detection, report stated.

These ships not only fish rare and protected species like sharks and turtles but also dump a huge amount of waste into the ocean. The report said that experts estimate that almost 30 per cent of the garbage collected on the shores of the Galapagos Islands comes from Chinese fleets. This includes bottles, containers of marine oil, Chinese-labeled jute bags and waste generate overboard the ships.

Argentina a coastal country in the South American continent is the second-largest squid fishery in the world which makes it an ideal location for these DWFs. Argentine authorities have taken strict measures and even sunk a fishing trawler flying the Chinese flag after being caught illegally fishing within the country's EEZ. Their vessels have spent close to 600,000 hours 'dark-fishing' in the area.

In Uruguay country located on the southeastern coast of South America caught a Chinese-flagged vessel within their EEZ, carrying 11 tons of Squid. These vessels are causing a lot of concern for Uruguayan authorities as well as locals as they are not only present near the EEZ but also dangerously close to their land boundary.

In Peru, the local fishermen have complained about Chinese overfishing of giant squid, which is the country's second biggest marine resource after anchovies. And because of this locals are also losing their jobs and the fishing industry of the area is on the verge of being wiped out.

Moreover, the Chinese presence has completely derailed Peru's thoughtful sustainability program for the squid population in the region. And there are legal protests are erupting all through the continent of South America against the Chinese DWF fleets.

The report claimed that these fleets are often linked to illegal activities such as encroaching on other nations' territorial waters, abusing workers and catching protected and endangered species. Although Shark fishing is banned throughout Central and South America, Chinese communities consume it as a delicacy.

These DWF vessels are not only disturbing the local marine ecosystem but are also disturbing the local fishing industry. The local fisherman then after losing their jobs in the fishing industry subsequently have to engage in illegal activities to make ends meet.