First U.S.-China meeting under Biden gets off to a rocky start

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/19/-first-us-china-meeting-under-biden-gets-off-to-a-rocky-start.html

PUBLISHED THU, MAR 18 20218:45 PM EDTUPDATED FRI, MAR 19 20213:07 AM EDTEvelyn Cheng@CHENGEVELYNSHAREShare Article via FacebookShare Article via TwitterShare Article via LinkedInShare Article via EmailKEY POINTS

  • The first high-level gathering of U.S. and Chinese officials under President Joe Biden kicked off with an exchange of insults at a pre-meeting press event Thursday, according to NBC News.
  • The two-day talks are set to conclude Friday.
  • A planned four-minute photo session for the officials to address reporters ended up lasting one hour and 15 minutes due to a frothy exchange, according to NBC News
Opening session of U.S.-China talks at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage, Alaska on March 18, 2021

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (2nd R), joined by national security advisor Jake Sullivan (R), speaks while facing Yang Jiechi (2nd L), director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission Office, and Wang Yi (L), China’s foreign minister at the opening session of U.S.-China talks at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage, Alaska on March 18, 2021.Frederic J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images

BEIJING — The first high-level gathering of U.S. and Chinese officials under President Joe Biden kicked off with an exchange of insults at a pre-meeting press event in Alaska on Thursday.

A planned four-minute photo session for the officials to address reporters ended up lasting one hour and 15 minutes due to a frothy exchange, according to NBC News. Both the Chinese and U.S. side kept calling the reporters back into the room so they could add remarks.

Expectations were already low for the meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Yang Jiechi, director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission of the Chinese Communist Party.

In his opening remarks, Blinken said the U.S. would discuss its “deep concerns with actions by China, including in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyber attacks on the United States, economic coercion toward our allies.”

“Each of these actions threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability. That’s why they’re not merely internal matters, and why we feel an obligation to raise these issues here today,” Blinken said. “I said that the United States relationship with China will be competitive where it should be, collaborative where it can be, adversarial where it must be.”The United States does not have the qualification to say that it wants to speak to China from a position of strength.Yang JiechiDIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMISSION

Beijing considers issues in Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan as part of its domestic affairs, and the officials reiterated at the meeting that China is firmly opposed to foreign interference.

Yang said the U.S. side “carefully orchestrated” the dialogue, according to an official translation reported by NBC.

“I think we thought too well of the United States, we thought that the U.S. side will follow the necessary diplomatic protocols,” Yang said, adding that “the United States does not have the qualification to say that it wants to speak to China from a position of strength.”

Yang said the U.S. must deal with the Chinese side in “the right way” and reiterated Beijing’s call for cooperation.I’m hearing deep satisfaction that the United States is back, that we’re reengaged with our allies and partners. I’m also hearing deep concern about some of the actions your government is taking.Antony BlinkenU.S. SECRETARY OF STATE

Under Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Chinese government has been consolidating its power at home and abroad. In the last year, Beijing has pushed ahead with major trade deals with Asia-Pacific neighbors and the European Union.

Chinese authorities have also emphasized their success in quickly controlling the coronavirus pandemic domestically, and their claim of lifting all 1.4 billion people in the country out of poverty — both of which Yang pointed to in his meeting with U.S. officials.

“We believe that it is important for the United States to change its own image, and to stop advancing its own democracy in the rest of the world,” Yang said.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately have a comment.

State-run broadcaster CCTV said the U.S. went “seriously overtime” in its opening remarks and “provoked disputes,” according to a CNBC translation of the Mandarin-language report.WATCH NOWVIDEO03:35China will be thinking “purely in their interest” in cooperation

Blinken arrived in Alaska fresh from a trip to Japan and South Korea. He told his Chinese counterparts that what he was hearing from other countries was very different from what Wang described as hopes for demonstrations of goodwill and sincerity between the U.S. and China.

“I’m hearing deep satisfaction that the United States is back, that we’re reengaged with our allies and partners,” Blinken said. “I’m also hearing deep concern about some of the actions your government is taking. And we’ll have an opportunity to discuss those when we get down to work.”

The first round of discussions between the two countries subsequently ended after more than three hours. The two-day talks are set to conclude Friday.

Tensions between the U.S. and China escalated in the last few years under former President Donald Trump, who used tariffs and sanctions to address persistent complaints about China’s lack of intellectual property protection, requirements of forced technology transfer and other unfair business practices. The dispute initially centered on trade, before spilling over into technology, finance and the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

Just as Biden was inaugurated, Beijing announced sanctions on 28 people, including several members of the Trump administration. Days before the first high-level meeting between the two countries, the Biden administration announced sanctions on 24 Chinese officials.

Analysts have expected Biden to take a more measured approach and work more closely with U.S. allies in putting pressure on China.

Biden’s meeting with “the Quad,” a new alliance to counter China, explained

A decade-old idea — a four-nation group to curb China’s aggression — is about to have a big moment.By Alex Ward@AlexWardVoxalex.ward@vox.com  Mar 12, 2021, 8:30am EST

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President Joe Biden at the White House on March 10. He’s set to meet with other leaders of the Quad — Japan, Australia, and India — on Friday.

When President Joe Biden meets virtually with the leaders of Japan, India, and Australia on Friday, he’ll be doing much more than joining a routine gathering of nations. He’ll be showcasing the growing importance of an informal alliance of those four countries to counter China, known as “the Quad.”

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, an idea formed in the aftermath of the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, has never had its heads of government meet before. And despite 14 years of trying to making it an effective forum to coordinate policy in the Indo-Pacific, it rarely did much of substance.

But Friday’s session is set to change that.

Senior administration officials said the Quad will announce an “historic” and “unprecedented” financing agreement to help India, the world’s second-most-populous country, produce 1 billion vaccines by 2022. Nikkei Asia on Wednesday noted the group plans to build a supply chain of rare-earth minerals that could erode China’s dominance in the making of products such as smartphones and batteries for electric vehicles. And multiple sources say the four nations will, for the first time, release a joint statement about their shared vision for regional cooperation.

The presidential-level meeting and these moves, then, “is a declaration that the Quad is here to stay,” said Tanvi Madan, an expert on the group at the Brookings Institution.

But the group’s newfound prominence isn’t without controversy. Beijing views it (understandably) as expressly designed to thwart China’s economic and military aims.

While most experts see it that way, too, no member state — including the US — will outwardly say concerns about China animate the Quad. Instead, they claim it exists for like-minded democratic nations to improve the lives of millions in the region and maintain the geopolitical status quo.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price, for example, told reporters this week that the group deals with “urgent challenges” but wasn’t “about any single competitor.”

What happens on Friday will thus impact the future of both America’s engagement in the Indo-Pacific and US-China relations. The expectation is Biden and his counterparts will solidify the Quad’s place in those futures.

“For the United States, this is a big buy-in,” said Sheila Smith, a senior fellow for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Washington, DC. “This is a pretty significant statement of American intent to build with these countries a framework for the region going forward.”

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What is the Quad?

The Quad was born out of tragedy and necessity.

In December 2004, a 9.1-magnitude earthquake struck the Indian Ocean off the coast of Indonesia, unleashing the deadliest tsunami in recorded history. Around 230,000 people were killed by the earthquake and tsunami in a matter of hours. Its effects were felt mostly in Indonesia but also as far away as eastern Africa. The event caused an estimated $10 billion in damages worldwide, making it one of the worst-ever humanitarian catastrophes.

“Basic infrastructure like shelter, medical capacity, transportation routes, emergency services, power, communication, and sanitation were lost,” the Center for International Maritime Security noted in 2016.

Armed forces from the United StatesIndiaJapan, and Australia all pitched in to help with the response and even worked together in what was known as the Tsunami Core Group. That coordination cell was effective and proved the concept of quadrilateral cooperation. But after all the ships and helicopters returned to their bases, there was no real follow-up to turn the four-way partnership into something longer lasting.

US Navy sailors fill jugs with purified water on January 4, 2005, to support the humanitarian response after the 2004 tsunami and earthquake.

Then, in 2007, Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo was talking with aides about how to turn his more hawkish foreign policy views into actual policy. One way to do that, CFR’s Smith told me, was “to put values diplomacy at the center of [Japan’s] thinking about working with partners in the region.” Plus, it’d be good if strong democracies banded together to keep the Indo-Pacific free and open for trade, among other things.

The Japanese government recalled the success of the four-nation tsunami team and considered that a potential model for such a group.

A flurry of discussion led to some progress in 2007 as the nascent Quad held one military drill and round of dialogue. But after China sharply criticized the group’s formation, Australia (and also India, some say) got cold feet and withdrew from the four-nation team in order to maintain good relations with China.

Abe’s Quad dreams were thus crushed and remained so for 10 years.

“You have to remember that this was a different period in how these countries thought about relations with China,” Smith told me, noting they hoped to engage Beijing and thereby encourage it to become a more responsible player on the world stage. “Flash forward a decade, now we have very different thinking about Chinese power.”

Confrontation, not cooperation, with China became the preferred approach in Washington, ushered in partly over the last four years by former President Donald Trump.

In November 2017, the Trump administration revived the Quad idea with their foreign counterparts. The four nations said they’d work together to patrol regional waterways where China was acting aggressively, such as in the South China Sea. That led some commentators and Chinese officials to speculate they were witnessing the embryonic stages of an “Asian NATO,” a reference to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which began as a military alliance to counter the Soviet Union in Europe.

The Quad’s members shut down any talk of that nature, releasing public statements that never cited China’s rise for the Quad’s return. “The discussions focused on cooperation based on their converging vision and values for promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in an increasingly inter-connected region that they share with each other and with other partners,” a statement from India’s Ministry of External Affairs read at the time.

But experts are nearly unanimous that the Quad rides again because President Xi Jinping has turned China into an openly antagonistic power. Among other things, he’s solidified control over the supply chains of key industries, and harassed neighbors at sea for territorial and energy gains.

China has also gotten into a deadly fight over a disputed border with India, started a trade war with Australiahacked the US government, and for years used its might to push Japan around on economic and military matters.

The animating idea behind the Quad, then, is that all four nations have a better chance of curbing China’s aggression together than apart. How exactly to confront Beijing, though, was the group’s long-unanswered question. “Quadrilateral cooperation was always a beautiful opportunity in search of a genuine agenda,” said Eric Sayers, an expert on US-China relations at the American Enterprise Institute.

Officials from the group have met at least seven times since 2017, but always below the presidential or prime ministerial level, to discuss concerns ranging from China’s trade practices to its growing military power. And last November, warships and warplanes from the four nations met for the Malabar military training exercise in the Indian Ocean, the greatest show of strength by the Quad members to date.

Then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a meeting of the Quad in October 2020. 

But despite various meetings and statements supporting the Quad, it wasn’t really doing more than maritime training and expressing the need for broad cooperation, experts said. The best some could say was that the group brought the nations closer together and made the idea of a four-way framework in the Indo-Pacific more palatable.

The Quad, then, was a fine venue for the nations to interact, but mostly toothless.

Toothless, that is, until now.

The Quad’s Friday meeting is a major rollout for the group

A common thread in Biden’s foreign policy is the belief that solving big problems requires the US to work with allies and partners. Confronting China is one such challenge, and the Quad serves as a ready-made way to do just that.

The new administration isn’t “looking to Quad allies just for appearances,” said Sameer Lalwani, director of the South Asia program at the Stimson Center. “It’s about real burden sharing” among “the biggest countries, largest economies, maritime powers with real naval capabilities, and democracies.”

The two expected outcomes of Friday’s meeting are cases in point. India’s billion-plus population needs help to manufacture and distribute coronavirus vaccines. Instead of turning to China for that, the Quad’s three other nations are prepared to offer financial assistance.

“Something like the vaccine initiative will be the Quad’s most prominent, tangible outcome in some ways,” said Brookings’s Madan. It also has the “added benefit of saying to the region that this isn’t just about China.”

“It’s proof of concept for the Quad,” she added.

China also produces around 60 percent of the world’s rare-earth minerals, which has both Republicans and Democrats calling for the US to challenge Beijing on that front. If China continues to mine and refine most of the world’s rare earths, it will have a greater say in the future of telecommunications, green technology, and other important industries of the future that rely on these elements.

Part of Biden’s platform is to modernize America’s economy to compete with China in those sectors, which requires loosening Beijing’s grip on the rare-earths supply chain. That’s a massive challenge, but one made easier with big countries like India, Japan, and Australia willing to help, experts say.

In addition to potential movement on climate-related matters, there’s also an expectation that the four nations will release a joint statement, the first such statement of its kind for the Quad. Stimson’s Lalwani said such a united effort, while pro forma, would show the Quad is seen now as an important multilateral group, not just some side project.

“The Quad’s trajectory is clearly upward,” he said.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during a press conference on March 7. He’s been critical of the Quad.

That portends potential trouble with China, and Beijing has already made its displeasure with the group’s rise known.

Last October, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, “What [the Quad] pursues is to trumpet the Cold War mentality and to stir up confrontation among different groups and blocs and to stoke geopolitical competition.” That’s more heated rhetoric than he used back in 2018, when he called the concept of the Quad “sea foam” because it would soon dissipate.

But the Biden administration isn’t cowed and has stated emphatically that the Quad is a central part of its plans. The group is “fundamental, a foundation upon which to build substantial American policy in the Indo-Pacific region,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said during a January event at the US Institute of Peace.

That’s the right outlook, most experts told me. “If China was behaving fine, you wouldn’t see these countries engage on these things,” said Madan.

After Friday’s meeting, then, it’s likely the Quad will have officially moved from a fringe idea into a centerpiece of four nations’ designs for the region, one that could bring China to heel.

“The goal here is basically to introduce the Quad as a new feature of regular diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific,” a senior administration official told Reuters this week.

China adds more than 500 species to wildlife protection list

By Reuters Staff

2 MIN READ

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-environment-wildlife/china-adds-more-than-500-species-to-wildlife-protection-list-idUSKBN2A604H

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China has added 517 species to its list of major protected wild animals, part of its campaign in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to end the wild animal trade and destruction of habitats.

A joint statement on Friday by the forestry and agriculture ministries said adjusting the list had become “extremely urgent” because of recent changes in China’s wildlife situation. A total of 980 wild animals are now under state protection.

The ministries promised to work with local governments to identify and protect the habitats of the animals added to the list, which include the endangered large-spotted civet and several species of birds that have dwindled in number in recent years.

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Those who hunt and traffic the animals face fines and even custodial sentences for “level one” protected species, such as the critically endangered panda, pangolin and Yangtze finless porpoise.

China has been trying to crack down on the wildlife trade since January 2020, after the first cases of COVID-19 were linked to a seafood market in the central city of Wuhan that was known to sell exotic animal species.

Scientists speculate that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could have crossed into humans from bats through an intermediary species, with pangolins often identified as a potential candidate.

China has also promised to step up efforts to protect forests and wetlands, and to seal off nature reserves behind “ecological protection red lines” in a bid to reduce human exposure to virus spillovers.

China’s parliament announced plans to implement a permanent nationwide ban on wildlife trade and trafficking in February, though it left big loopholes for the captive breeding of animals traded for fur or used in traditional Chinese medicine.

In the first nine months of 2020, China prosecuted more than 15,000 people for wildlife crimes, up 66% from the same period a year earlier, state prosecutors said.

‘They just pull up everything!’ Chinese fleet raises fears for Galápagos sea life

‘They just pull up everything!’ Chinese fleet raises fears for Galápagos sea life

Seascape: the state of our oceansGalápagos Islands

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/aug/06/chinese-fleet-fishing-galapagos-islands-environment?fbclid=IwAR1m0ux_QLU-rqIe0Oo6lp1AtHvEq8KQWvMgLe8a7kjjm0NxXlgf0mkaXI0

A vast fishing armada off Ecuador’s biodiverse Pacific islands has stirred alarm over ‘indiscriminate’ fishing practicesSeascape: the state of our oceans is supported byAbout this content

Dan Collyns in Lima @yachay_dc

Thu 6 Aug 2020 05.30 EDTLast modified on Thu 6 Aug 2020 11.18 EDT

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The Chinese reefer ship Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 was intercepted inside the Galápagos marine reserve in 2017. It contained about 300 tonnes of mostly sharks, including protected species such as hammerhead and whale shark.
 The Chinese reefer ship Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 was intercepted in the Galápagos marine reserve in 2017 with about 300 tonnes of mostly sharks, including protected species. Photograph: Archivo Parque Nacional Galápagos

Jonathan Green had been tracking a whale shark named Hope across the eastern Pacific for 280 days when the satellite transmissions from a GPS tag on her dorsal fin abruptly stopped.

It was not unusual for the GPS signal to go silent, even for weeks at a time, said Green, a scientist who has been studying the world’s largest fish for three decades in the unique marine ecosystem around the Galápagos Islands.

Alarm over discovery of hundreds of Chinese fishing vessels near Galápagos Islands

 Read more

But then he looked at satellite images in the area where Hope was last tracked – more than a thousand nautical miles west of the islands – and noticed the ocean was being patrolled by hundreds of Chinese fishing boats.

“I began to look into it and found that at the very end of her track she began to speed up,” said Green, co-founder and director of the Galápagos Whale Shark Project.

“It went from one knot to six or seven knots for the last 32 minutes – which is, of course, the speed of a fishing boat,” he said.

The fishing vessels that Green saw on the satellite images are believed to belong to an enormous Chinese-flagged fleet which Ecuadorian authorities last week warned was just outside the Galápagos Islands’ territorial waters.

“I don’t have proof but my hypothesis is that she was caught by vessels from the same fleet which is now situated to the south of the islands,” Green told the Guardian. She is the third GPS-tracked whale shark to have gone missing in the last decade, he added.

The Chinese fleet, numbering more than 200 vessels, is in international waters just outside a maritime border around the Galápagos Islands and also Ecuador’s coastal waters, said Norman Wray, the islands’ governor.

‘The Galápagos Marine Reserve is a place of very great productivity, high biomass but also biodiversity.’
 A female whale shark in the Galápagos archipelago. ‘The Galápagos Marine Reserve is a place of very great productivity, high biomass but also biodiversity.’ Photograph: Simon J Pierce

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Chinese fishing vessels come every year to the seas around the Galápagos, which were declared a Unesco world heritage site in 1978, but this year’s fleet is one of the largest seen in recent years. Of the 248 vessels, 243 are flagged to China including to companies with suspected records of illegal, unreported and unregulated, or IUU, fishing, according to research by C4ADS, a data analysis NGO.

The fleet includes fishing boats and refrigerated container – or reefer – ships to store enormous catches.

Transferring cargo between vessels is prohibited under international maritime law yet the Chinese flotilla has supply and storage ships along with longline and squid fishing boats.

“There are some fleets which don’t seem to abide by any regulations,” said Wray.

One captain of an Ecuadorian tuna boat saw the Chinese fishing boats up close in early July, before the end of the tuna season.

“They just pull up everything!” said the captain, who asked not to be named. “We are obliged to take a biologist aboard who checks our haul; if we catch a shark we have to put it back, but who controls them?”

He recalled navigating through the fleet at night, constantly changing course to avoid boats, as their lights illuminated the sea to attract squid to the surface.

“It was like looking at a city at night,” he said.https://interactive.guim.co.uk/uploader/embed/2020/08/galapagos_islands_map/giv-3902PwADw3d4ii3F/

The longline fishing boats had up to 500 lines, each with thousands of fishhooks, he estimated, and claimed that some of the vessels would turn off their automatic tracking systems to avoid detection, particularly when operating in protected areas.

Chinese fishing practices first caught the attention of Ecuador in 2017 when its navy seized the Chinese reefer Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 within the Galápagos marine reserve. Inside its containers were 6,000 frozen sharks – including the endangered hammerhead shark and whale shark.

“It was a slaughterhouse,” said Green, describing the images of the cargo hold. “This kind of slaughter is going on on a massive scale in international waters and nobody is witnessing it.”

The seizure prompted protests outside the Chinese embassy in Quito; Ecuador fined the vessel $6m and the 20 Chinese crew-members were later jailed for up to four years for illegal fishing.

The arrival of the latest fleet has also stirred public outrage and a formal complaint by Ecuador as its navy is on alert for any incursion into Ecuadorian waters.

The Chinese embassy in Quito said that China was a “responsible fishing nation” with a “zero-tolerance” attitude towards illegal fishing. It had confirmed with Ecuador’s navy that all the Chinese fishing vessels were operating legally “and don’t represent a threat to anyone”, it said in a statement last month. On Thursday China announced a three-month fishing ban in the high seas west of the marine reserve, but it will not come into force until September.

Roque Sevilla, a former mayor of Quito, who is leading a team in charge of designing a “protection strategy” for the islands, said the fleet practices “indiscriminate fishing – regardless of species or age – which is causing a serious deterioration of the quality of fauna that we will have in our seas”.

Ecuador would establish a corridor of marine reserves with Pacific-facing neighbours Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia to seal off important areas of marine diversity, Sevilla told the Guardian.

Shark finning: why the ocean’s most barbaric practice continues to boom

 Read more

Protecting the Cocos Ridge, an underwater mountain range which connects the Galápagos Islands to mainland Costa Rica, and the Carnegie Ridge which links the archipelago to Ecuador and continental South America, could close off more than 200,000 sq nautical miles of ocean otherwise vulnerable to industrial fishing, he said.

He added Ecuador had called for a diplomatic meeting with Chile, Peru, Colombia and Panama to present a formal protest against China.Advertisementhttps://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

“When the Galápagos’s protected area was first created it was cutting edge,” said Matt Rand, director of the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy, “but compared to other newer marine protected areas Galápagos is now potentially lacking in size to protect the biodiversity.”

Milton Castillo, the Galápagos Islands’ representative for Ecuador’s human rights ombudsman’s office, said he had asked the prosecutor’s office to inspect the cargo holds of the Chinese ships based on the legal principle of the universal and extraterritorial protection of endangered species.

China’s distant-water fishing fleet is the biggest in the world, with nearly 17,000 vessels – 1,000 of which use “flags of convenience” and are registered in other countries, according to research by the Overseas Development Institute.https://www.youtube.com/embed/Uu5ka0lMZTo?embed_config=%7B%22relatedChannels%22%3A%5B%5D%2C%22adsConfig%22%3A%7B%22adTagParameters%22%3A%7B%22iu%22%3A%22%2F59666047%2Ftheguardian.com%2Fenvironment%2Farticle%2Fng%22%2C%22cust_params%22%3A%22sens%253Df%2526permutive%253D23527%252C24632%252C24663%252C24665%252C24670%252C24655%252C24668%252C26748%252C27872%252C28985%252C24672%252C30130%252C31470%252C24691%252C24675%252C24693%252C33392%252C27631%252C27638%252C29800%252C33143%252C24659%252C24645%252C24630%252C28165%252C24628%252C24641%252C24667%252C24674%252C24689%252C30377%252C27564%252C24606%252C24661%252C25367%252C26822%252C25471%252C26749%252C37344%252C37434%252C43272%2526pv%253Dkdjeomwyvw417kzfu7lw%2526bp%253Ddesktop%2526si%253Df%2526ab%253DSignInGateMainVariant-main-variant-1%252CdotcomRenderingControl-control%252ColdTlsSupportDeprecationControl-control%2526fr%253D10-15%2526cc%253DUS%2526s%253Denvironment%2526rp%253Ddotcom-platform%2526dcre%253Df%2526inskin%253Df%2526urlkw%253Dchinese%252Cfleet%252Cfishing%252Cgalapagos%252Cislands%252Cenvironment%2526rdp%253Df%2526consent_tcfv2%253Dna%2526cmp_interaction%253Dna%2526se%253Dseascape-the-state-of-our-oceans%2526ct%253Darticle%2526co%253Ddan-collyns%2526url%253D%25252Fenvironment%25252F2020%25252Faug%25252F06%25252Fchinese-fleet-fishing-galapagos-islands-environment%2526br%253Df%2526su%253D2%252C3%252C4%252C5%2526edition%253Dus%2526tn%253Dfeatures%2526p%253Dng%2526k%253Dasia-pacific%252Cworld%252Cecuador%252Cchina%252Cfish%252Cenvironment%252Camericas%252Cgalapagos-islands%2526sh%253Dhttps%25253A%25252F%25252Fgu.com%25252Fp%25252Feehna%2526pa%253Dt%22%7D%7D%7D&enablejsapi=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com&widgetid=1Play Video0:51 Footage shows Chinese fleet vessels transferring cargo in seas near Galápagos – video

The fleet often fishes in the territorial waters of low-income countries, the report said, having depleted fish stocks in domestic waters.

Green said the “explosion of life” created by the confluence of cold and warm ocean currents around the Galápagos Islands is exactly why the Chinese armada is hovering around the archipelago’s waters.

“The Galápagos marine reserve is a place of very great productivity, high biomass but also biodiversity,” he said. The longline fishing technique used by the fleet catch big fish like tuna, but also sharks, rays, turtles and marine mammals like sea lions and dolphins, he added.

“This is not fishing any more, it is simply destroying the resources of our oceans,” Green said. “We should ask whether any nation on this planet has the right to destroy what is common ground.”

A vast fishing armada off Ecuador’s biodiverse Pacific islands has stirred alarm over ‘indiscriminate’ fishing practicesSeascape: the state of our oceans is supported byAbout this content

Dan Collyns in Lima @yachay_dc

Thu 6 Aug 2020 05.30 EDTLast modified on Thu 6 Aug 2020 11.18 EDT

Shares3,875

The Chinese reefer ship Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 was intercepted inside the Galápagos marine reserve in 2017. It contained about 300 tonnes of mostly sharks, including protected species such as hammerhead and whale shark.
 The Chinese reefer ship Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 was intercepted in the Galápagos marine reserve in 2017 with about 300 tonnes of mostly sharks, including protected species. Photograph: Archivo Parque Nacional Galápagos

Jonathan Green had been tracking a whale shark named Hope across the eastern Pacific for 280 days when the satellite transmissions from a GPS tag on her dorsal fin abruptly stopped.

It was not unusual for the GPS signal to go silent, even for weeks at a time, said Green, a scientist who has been studying the world’s largest fish for three decades in the unique marine ecosystem around the Galápagos Islands.

Alarm over discovery of hundreds of Chinese fishing vessels near Galápagos Islands

 Read more

But then he looked at satellite images in the area where Hope was last tracked – more than a thousand nautical miles west of the islands – and noticed the ocean was being patrolled by hundreds of Chinese fishing boats.

“I began to look into it and found that at the very end of her track she began to speed up,” said Green, co-founder and director of the Galápagos Whale Shark Project.

“It went from one knot to six or seven knots for the last 32 minutes – which is, of course, the speed of a fishing boat,” he said.

The fishing vessels that Green saw on the satellite images are believed to belong to an enormous Chinese-flagged fleet which Ecuadorian authorities last week warned was just outside the Galápagos Islands’ territorial waters.

“I don’t have proof but my hypothesis is that she was caught by vessels from the same fleet which is now situated to the south of the islands,” Green told the Guardian. She is the third GPS-tracked whale shark to have gone missing in the last decade, he added.

The Chinese fleet, numbering more than 200 vessels, is in international waters just outside a maritime border around the Galápagos Islands and also Ecuador’s coastal waters, said Norman Wray, the islands’ governor.

‘The Galápagos Marine Reserve is a place of very great productivity, high biomass but also biodiversity.’
 A female whale shark in the Galápagos archipelago. ‘The Galápagos Marine Reserve is a place of very great productivity, high biomass but also biodiversity.’ Photograph: Simon J Pierce

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Chinese fishing vessels come every year to the seas around the Galápagos, which were declared a Unesco world heritage site in 1978, but this year’s fleet is one of the largest seen in recent years. Of the 248 vessels, 243 are flagged to China including to companies with suspected records of illegal, unreported and unregulated, or IUU, fishing, according to research by C4ADS, a data analysis NGO.

The fleet includes fishing boats and refrigerated container – or reefer – ships to store enormous catches.

Transferring cargo between vessels is prohibited under international maritime law yet the Chinese flotilla has supply and storage ships along with longline and squid fishing boats.

“There are some fleets which don’t seem to abide by any regulations,” said Wray.

One captain of an Ecuadorian tuna boat saw the Chinese fishing boats up close in early July, before the end of the tuna season.

“They just pull up everything!” said the captain, who asked not to be named. “We are obliged to take a biologist aboard who checks our haul; if we catch a shark we have to put it back, but who controls them?”

He recalled navigating through the fleet at night, constantly changing course to avoid boats, as their lights illuminated the sea to attract squid to the surface.

“It was like looking at a city at night,” he said.https://interactive.guim.co.uk/uploader/embed/2020/08/galapagos_islands_map/giv-3902PwADw3d4ii3F/

The longline fishing boats had up to 500 lines, each with thousands of fishhooks, he estimated, and claimed that some of the vessels would turn off their automatic tracking systems to avoid detection, particularly when operating in protected areas.

Chinese fishing practices first caught the attention of Ecuador in 2017 when its navy seized the Chinese reefer Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 within the Galápagos marine reserve. Inside its containers were 6,000 frozen sharks – including the endangered hammerhead shark and whale shark.

“It was a slaughterhouse,” said Green, describing the images of the cargo hold. “This kind of slaughter is going on on a massive scale in international waters and nobody is witnessing it.”

The seizure prompted protests outside the Chinese embassy in Quito; Ecuador fined the vessel $6m and the 20 Chinese crew-members were later jailed for up to four years for illegal fishing.

The arrival of the latest fleet has also stirred public outrage and a formal complaint by Ecuador as its navy is on alert for any incursion into Ecuadorian waters.

The Chinese embassy in Quito said that China was a “responsible fishing nation” with a “zero-tolerance” attitude towards illegal fishing. It had confirmed with Ecuador’s navy that all the Chinese fishing vessels were operating legally “and don’t represent a threat to anyone”, it said in a statement last month. On Thursday China announced a three-month fishing ban in the high seas west of the marine reserve, but it will not come into force until September.

Roque Sevilla, a former mayor of Quito, who is leading a team in charge of designing a “protection strategy” for the islands, said the fleet practices “indiscriminate fishing – regardless of species or age – which is causing a serious deterioration of the quality of fauna that we will have in our seas”.

Ecuador would establish a corridor of marine reserves with Pacific-facing neighbours Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia to seal off important areas of marine diversity, Sevilla told the Guardian.

Shark finning: why the ocean’s most barbaric practice continues to boom

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Protecting the Cocos Ridge, an underwater mountain range which connects the Galápagos Islands to mainland Costa Rica, and the Carnegie Ridge which links the archipelago to Ecuador and continental South America, could close off more than 200,000 sq nautical miles of ocean otherwise vulnerable to industrial fishing, he said.

He added Ecuador had called for a diplomatic meeting with Chile, Peru, Colombia and Panama to present a formal protest against China.Advertisementhttps://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

“When the Galápagos’s protected area was first created it was cutting edge,” said Matt Rand, director of the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy, “but compared to other newer marine protected areas Galápagos is now potentially lacking in size to protect the biodiversity.”

Milton Castillo, the Galápagos Islands’ representative for Ecuador’s human rights ombudsman’s office, said he had asked the prosecutor’s office to inspect the cargo holds of the Chinese ships based on the legal principle of the universal and extraterritorial protection of endangered species.

China’s distant-water fishing fleet is the biggest in the world, with nearly 17,000 vessels – 1,000 of which use “flags of convenience” and are registered in other countries, according to research by the Overseas Development Institute.https://www.youtube.com/embed/Uu5ka0lMZTo?embed_config=%7B%22relatedChannels%22%3A%5B%5D%2C%22adsConfig%22%3A%7B%22adTagParameters%22%3A%7B%22iu%22%3A%22%2F59666047%2Ftheguardian.com%2Fenvironment%2Farticle%2Fng%22%2C%22cust_params%22%3A%22sens%253Df%2526permutive%253D23527%252C24632%252C24663%252C24665%252C24670%252C24655%252C24668%252C26748%252C27872%252C28985%252C24672%252C30130%252C31470%252C24691%252C24675%252C24693%252C33392%252C27631%252C27638%252C29800%252C33143%252C24659%252C24645%252C24630%252C28165%252C24628%252C24641%252C24667%252C24674%252C24689%252C30377%252C27564%252C24606%252C24661%252C25367%252C26822%252C25471%252C26749%252C37344%252C37434%252C43272%2526pv%253Dkdjeomwyvw417kzfu7lw%2526bp%253Ddesktop%2526si%253Df%2526ab%253DSignInGateMainVariant-main-variant-1%252CdotcomRenderingControl-control%252ColdTlsSupportDeprecationControl-control%2526fr%253D10-15%2526cc%253DUS%2526s%253Denvironment%2526rp%253Ddotcom-platform%2526dcre%253Df%2526inskin%253Df%2526urlkw%253Dchinese%252Cfleet%252Cfishing%252Cgalapagos%252Cislands%252Cenvironment%2526rdp%253Df%2526consent_tcfv2%253Dna%2526cmp_interaction%253Dna%2526se%253Dseascape-the-state-of-our-oceans%2526ct%253Darticle%2526co%253Ddan-collyns%2526url%253D%25252Fenvironment%25252F2020%25252Faug%25252F06%25252Fchinese-fleet-fishing-galapagos-islands-environment%2526br%253Df%2526su%253D2%252C3%252C4%252C5%2526edition%253Dus%2526tn%253Dfeatures%2526p%253Dng%2526k%253Dasia-pacific%252Cworld%252Cecuador%252Cchina%252Cfish%252Cenvironment%252Camericas%252Cgalapagos-islands%2526sh%253Dhttps%25253A%25252F%25252Fgu.com%25252Fp%25252Feehna%2526pa%253Dt%22%7D%7D%7D&enablejsapi=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com&widgetid=1Play Video0:51 Footage shows Chinese fleet vessels transferring cargo in seas near Galápagos – video

The fleet often fishes in the territorial waters of low-income countries, the report said, having depleted fish stocks in domestic waters.

Green said the “explosion of life” created by the confluence of cold and warm ocean currents around the Galápagos Islands is exactly why the Chinese armada is hovering around the archipelago’s waters.

“The Galápagos marine reserve is a place of very great productivity, high biomass but also biodiversity,” he said. The longline fishing technique used by the fleet catch big fish like tuna, but also sharks, rays, turtles and marine mammals like sea lions and dolphins, he added.

“This is not fishing any more, it is simply destroying the resources of our oceans,” Green said. “We should ask whether any nation on this planet has the right to destroy what is common ground.”

China bans squid catch in some overseas waters with overfishing in spotlight

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3096038/china-bans-squid-catch-some-overseas-waters-overfishing?fbclid=IwAR3BCjJVHCxH_sdXtV8UV7aAvnBuXzTxfFcOLeaduFt7YWpNki2bvYsrha0

China / Diplomacy

China bans squid catch in some overseas waters with overfishing in spotlight

  • Three-month halt in designated areas to protect populations of squid, with Chinese boats accounting for up to 70 per cent of the global catch
  • Ban follows backlash against the country’s fishers, accused of violating sovereign rights of coastal states and damaging ecosystems
Linda Lew
Laura Zhou

Linda Lew and Laura Zhou in Beijing

Published: 7:00am, 5 Aug, 2020Why you can trust SCMP

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Chinese fishing vessels have been involved in several confrontations in other countries’ waters. Photo: Xinhua
Chinese fishing vessels have been involved in several confrontations in other countries’ waters. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese fishing vessels have been involved in several confrontations in other countries’ waters. Photo: XinhuaChina has said its fishing fleet, the world’s biggest, has been banned from catching squid in parts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans for three months to help populations recover. It comes as environmental groups and some nations say the country’s fleet is threatening to wipe out some fish populations.

The moratorium, effective from July, bans all Chinese fishing boats from operating in the designated areas, which are spawning grounds for squid – the main catch of the country’s vessels in international waters, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

“The first fishing ban in international waters … shows that China is willingly and proactively collaborating with relevant coastal countries and international organisations in setting up recommendations and measures to protect the marine resources in international seas,” said Liu Yadan, the deputy secretary of the China Agricultural Association for International Exchange.

The ban comes as China faces a backlash over its fishing fleets, most recently for hundreds of vessels that converged around marine sanctuaries off Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. Ecuador said it registered a complaint about the fleet and informed China’s authorities that Ecuador would defend its maritime rights.

China’s bans on fishing in waters off South America. Map: SCMP

China’s bans on fishing in waters off South America. Map: SCMP

Chinese fishing vessels have also been in confrontations near Africa and the Korean peninsula.https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.400.1_en.html#goog_236008454

On Sunday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement that noted the vessels near the Galapagos, and criticised Chinese fishing fleets for violating sovereign rights of coastal states and damaging ecosystems.

“Given this unfortunate record of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, rule-breaking and wilful environmental degradation, it is more important than ever that the international community stands together for the rule of law and insists on better environmental stewardship from Beijing,” Pompeo said in the statement.SCMP GLOBAL IMPACT NEWSLETTERUncover the most important stories from China that affect the worldSIGN UPBy registering, you agree to our T&C and Privacy Policy

China reels in as much as 70 per cent of the global squid catch. The country has over 600 squid vessels, which hauled in more than 520,000 tonnes in 2018, according to statistics from China’s Academy of Ocean.

Argentine coast guard opens fire on Chinese fishing boat
Argentine coast guard opens fire on Chinese fishing boat

01:41

Argentine coast guard opens fire on Chinese fishing boat

Argentine coast guard opens fire on Chinese fishing boatAreas covered by the moratorium are the two most important international squid fishing grounds for China’s fleet. The one in the South Atlantic near Argentina has almost 200 Chinese vessels operating there, while the banned zone in the Pacific is near Ecuador, according to a report by China Newsweek magazine.

The agricultural ministry said all Chinese vessels had now left the South Atlantic area where the ban has been imposed. The majority shifted to the Pacific or other international waters, according to the report.

China will also work on protective measures for other species such as tuna and Pacific saury, Liu at the Agricultural Association said in a July 22 article she wrote for the China Fisheries Association.The country has had annual fishing bans in its surrounding waters and claimed territories in the South China Sea since the 1990s, but this was the first time a ban was imposed on Chinese fleets in international waters, according to the agricultural ministry.https://www.youtube.com/embed/-TECC1o0J5k?rel=0&mute=1&playsinline=1&frameborder=0&autoplay=0&embed_config=%7B%22relatedChannels%22%3A%5B%22UC4SUWizzKc1tptprBkWjX2Q%22%5D%2C%22adsConfig%22%3A%7B%22adTagParameters%22%3A%7B%22iu%22%3A%22%2F8134%2Fscmp%2Fweb%2Fchina_diplomacydefence%2Farticle%2Finstream1%22%2C%22cust_params%22%3A%7B%22paid%22%3A1%2C%22scnid%22%3A%223096038%22%2C%22sctid%22%3A%22325298%22%2C%22scsid%22%3A%5B%2291%22%2C%224%22%2C%22318199%22%5D%2C%22articletype%22%3A%22DEFAULT%22%7D%7D%2C%22nonPersonalizedAd%22%3Atrue%7D%7D&enablejsapi=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.scmp.com&widgetid=2Body of Indonesian fisherman dumped overboard amid allegations of abuse on Chinese ship

Body of Indonesian fisherman dumped overboard amid allegations of abuse on Chinese shipChina has also been trying to rein in illegal fishing. In its 13th five-year plan covering 2016 to 2020, language about illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing was added to its new distant water fishing regulations for the first time.

The fisheries law that came into effect in March increased monitoring, control and surveillance, and stricter penalties for violations, including the creation of an IUU blacklist.

Tabitha Mallory, an affiliate professor with the University of Washington, said these could be seen as “positive first steps”.

“The Chinese government does not want to see its fishing fleet engage in activities that are harmful to other countries or to the environment. China cares about its reputation on this front, which is what is motivating the steps toward better management,” said Mallory, who researches China and global ocean governance.

Historic fishing community in Ghana demolished for new harbour project funded by China
Historic fishing community in Ghana demolished for new harbour project funded by China

01:52

Historic fishing community in Ghana demolished for new harbour project funded by China

Historic fishing community in Ghana demolished for new harbour project funded by China

In addition to criticism from Ecuador, Chinese vessels have also been in clashes with Argentine authorities.

The Chinese trawler Lu Yan Yuan Yu 010 was sunk by Argentine coastguards in 2016, but disputes involving Chinese vessels have continued in the region. Earlier this year, the Argentine navy reported two Chinese vessels for illegal fishing in the country’s exclusive economic zone after pursuing the ships, according to digital magazine Dialogo.

Pan Wenjing, forest and oceans manager for Greenpeace East Asia, said incidents in Argentina’s waters could be one of the reasons that Beijing pushed for a voluntary ban on squid fishing.

“The southwest Atlantic is a major fishing ground for squid and thousand of boats operate in that area every year, including some of the large trawlers from China, which from time to time would cross maritime borders and cause conflicts in the region,” Pan said.

Chinese fleets accused of fishing illegally in North Korean waters23 Jul 2020

“That is also one of the reasons why China announced regulations on squid fishing in the high seas.”

Although the fishing ban is a good step, more is needed to promote marine conservation, said Wang Songlin, the founder of Qingdao Marine Conservation Society.

“The fishing ban is not a cure-all,” Wang said. “If after the ban, operation resumes and the amount fished is greater than the capacity of the ecosystem, then the conservation effects from the several months of the fishing moratorium would be cancelled out by the overfishing.”

Other measures were needed, he said, such as reducing the total number of fishing vessels, banning trawler nets that scoop up all surrounding marine life instead of just target species, and setting up marine protection zones.

China imposes a 10-year fishing ban for Yangtze River to protect marine biodiversity
China imposes a 10-year fishing ban for Yangtze River to protect marine biodiversity

01:57

China imposes a 10-year fishing ban for Yangtze River to protect marine biodiversity

China imposes a 10-year fishing ban for Yangtze River to protect marine biodiversity

There are also humanitarian concerns relating to China’s fishing industry.

Conservation group Global Fishing Watch found that North Korean fishers have been displaced, as Chinese vessels operating in North Korean waters have hauled in massive amounts of squid, which was North Korea’s third largest export until it was blocked by US sanctions, imposed because of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.

A report by the group published in July, using analysis of tracking data and satellite imagery, estimated more than 900 China fishing vessels trawled for squid in the sea between North Korea and Russia in 2017, and over 700 in 2018.

These ships, which can include legally operated ships and illegal ones, were estimated to have hauled in 101,300 tonnes of squid worth US$275 million in 2017 and 62,800 tonnes of squid worth US$171 million in 2018. This was roughly equal to what Japan and South Korea combined would catch from all their surrounding seas, the report said.

Vietnam airs video of Chinese ship sinking fishing boat in South China Sea16 Jun 2014

Nothing like this had been seen before, according to Jaeyoon Park, senior data scientist at Global Fishing Watch. “It’s a really enormous group of vessels,” Park said.

“The presence of this foreign fleet also has severe consequences for North Korean small-scale fishermen, who can’t compete,” the report said. Those smaller vessels often went further out to sea and met tragedy, as seen in a phenomenon known as “ghost boats”.

Between 2014 and 2018, 505 North Korean “ghost boats” washed ashore on Japanese coasts, some of them containing human remains of fishers who had died from starvation as they were driven further afield to find fish, using boats not equipped for deepwater travel, according to the report.

“It’s not simply about conservation and protection of the environment,” Park said. “It represents a serious humanitarian problem.”Purchase the 120+ page China Internet Report 2020 Pro Edition, brought to you by SCMP Research, and enjoy a 30% discount (original price US$400). The report includes deep-dive analysis, trends, and case studies on the 10 most important internet sectors. Now in its 3rd year, this go-to source for understanding China tech also comes with exclusive access to 6+ webinars with C-level executives, including Charles Li, CEO of HKEX, James Peng, CEO/founder of Pony.ai, and senior executives from Alibaba, Huawei, Kuaishou, Pinduoduo, and more. Offer valid until 31 August 2020. To purchase, please click here.

Wildlife watchdog told to take action after report finds Zimbabwe’s baby elephants sale violated rules Young captured elephants held in pen in Zimbabwe prior to being exported to China

(See:
https://cites.org/sites/default/files/eng/com/ac/31/Docs/E-AC31-18-02.pdf)
 

 
Tracy Keeling
4th August 2020
 
Zimbabwe loaded 32 baby elephants onto a China-bound plane in October 2019. It had sold off the young animals, who it had separated from their wild families a year earlier, to an unnatural and torturous life in zoos. Zimbabwe authorities went ahead with the baby elephants’ export in the face of legal action. It also did so just before the global wildlife watchdog, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), implemented a landmark rule change that would have made the export impossible.
 
Zimbabwe, however, isn’t guaranteed to get off scot-free with its much criticised move. A recent CITES report accuses the country of not only contravening the “will” of CITES members, but the “good faith” and “spirit” of the Convention overall. It also asserts that, regardless of the landmark rule change that was about to come into force, Zimbabwe contravened prior provisions of CITES.
 
The report’s authors call on CITES’ Animals Committee to take “appropriate steps” after considering its findings. Such a step would be removing the elephants from the distressing situation they now find themselves in, and giving them the chance to live out the rest of their lives in relative comfort.
 
Rule change
 
Zimbabwe and a number of other nations that African elephants call home have been easily able to sell them on to non-African countries for display in zoos until very recently. But parties to CITES – which are nation states – voted to change the rules at the 2019 conference. The definition of what constitutes an ‘appropriate and acceptable destination’ for export of elephants was limited to “in situ”
conservation programmes. Simply put, the change means that African elephants should stay in Africa.
 
The rule change came into force on 26 November 2019, 90 days after the vote. This grace period between parties approving resolutions and them coming into force is to allow countries time to adjust their national laws and policies to fit the incoming CITES’ requirements.
 
 
But Zimbabwe used the time to export the young elephants it had captured in 2018 to China. At the time, elephant biologist and wildlife director at Humane Society International/Africa, Audrey Delsink, said:
 
We are left feeling outraged and heartbroken at this news today that the Zimbabwe authorities have shipped these poor baby elephants out of the country. Zimbabwe is showing total disregard for the spirit of the CITES ruling as well as ignoring local and global criticism. Condemning these elephants to a life of captivity in Chinese zoos is a tragedy.
 
Inhumane
 
Now two parties to CITES, Burkina Faso and Niger, have submitted a report to the authority’s Animals Committee. The report looks at exports of live elephants from African nations since 2010 in the context of CITES’ various rules, such as countries having to find ‘appropriate and acceptable destinations’ for them.
 
Zimbabwe has outstrippped all others in sheer numbers of exports. The report found it has exported 144 young elephants, mostly to China, since 2010. Namibia came second, with 24 elephants. The report spotlights Zimbabwe’s 2019 export in great detail. The report states that, at the time of writing in May, the elephants were in Longemont Animal Park close to Hangzhou. It continues:
 
Undercover video footage shows the elephants separated from each other in barren, indoor cells. Many appear to be very young (2-3 years).
Recent photographic evidence from China indicates that the elephants have undergone inhumane training by mahouts, presumably to prepare them for entertainment use. There are unconfirmed reports that some of the elephants are going to Yongyuan Biotech Company. The reason remains unknown.
 
Against the rules, by any measure
 
The report further assesses whether the export complied with CITES provisions. It notes that Zimbabwe can only export an elephant to ‘appropriate and acceptable destinations’ that are “suitably equipped to house and care for it”, due to a resolution that came into force in 2000. Parties have added further provisions over time. As a result, the scientific authorities for both the importing and exporting country also have to be “satisfied” that the export ‘promotes in situ conservation’, i.e. conservation in the place the elephant comes from. Furthermore, the
2019 landmark rule change, as already mentioned, limits what constitutes an ‘appropriate and acceptable destination’ to those that are ‘in situ’.
 
Burkina Faso and Niger argue, however, that, by any measure, Zimbabwe’s hurried export of the young elephants didn’t abide by CITES’ provisions.
The report says:
 
there is no publicly available evidence suggesting that the safari park in Shanghai which received the 32 young elephants from Zimbabwe in October 2019 –or any of the likely further destinations –can be considered as “suitably equipped to house and care for” live elephants, and thus meet the recommendations in the non-binding guidance, or that this particular import would promote in situ conservation. …
 
By any reasonable metric, the conditions of the transfer and housing are demonstrably inhumane.
 
Highlighting the 2019 rule change and the fact that, as part of that change, parties explicitly recognised elephants are “highly social animals” and removing them from their social groups has “detrimental effects” on their “physical and social well-being”, the report said the
export:
 
not only contravened the will of the CITES Parties, it undermined the good faith and the spirit of the Convention.
 
Mighty and toothless
 
In short, the CITES report by two of its member countries is scathing about Zimbabwe’s actions. It asserts that, no matter how you look at it, or what resolution you test it by, the country’s choice to fly out the young elephants was flawed.
 
The parties recommend that the Animals Committee considers the report’s findings on the Zimbabwe 2019 export, in relation to the ‘appropriate and acceptable destinations’ condition, and takes “appropriate steps”.
The report doesn’t clarify what those steps should be.
 
CITES essentially plays god as an authority. It’s immensely powerful, deciding the fate of countless earthly beings, by controlling the trade in them – alive and dead. But it’s fairly ineffective when it comes to cracking down on wildlife trade offenders. The illegal trade in wildlife, for example, is booming (as is the legal trade). And what action CITES is empowered to take against Zimbabwe, and indeed China, for their apparent transgressions is unclear. South African journalist Adam Cruise told The Canary:
 
The appropriate steps would be haul Zimbabwe over the coals but just how CITES does that is the question. They are pretty toothless in that regard as they cannot really ‘do’ anything after the fact but simply an acknowledgement that Zimbabwe and by extension CITES were wrong and this sort of export will never happen again may be enough. Sadly, the elephants cant go back in the wild, that’s for sure.
 
Amid a global pandemic likely to have been caused by the wildlife trade, and a biodiversity crisis, the global wildlife watchdog increasingly appears unfit for purpose. A functional authority would reverse this trade and force the return of these young elephants to Africa, for rehabilitation and care in a wildlife sanctuary. If CITES is unable, or unwilling, to do that then really, what is the point of it?
 
https://www.thecanary.co/discovery/analysis-discovery/2020/08/04/wildlife-watchdog-told-to-take-action-after-report-finds-zimbabwes-baby-elephants-sale-violated-rules/
 

Alarm over discovery of hundreds of Chinese fishing vessels near Galápagos Islands

The fleet, found just outside a protected zone, raises the prospect of damage to the marine ecosystemSeascape: the state of our oceans is supported byAbout this content

Dan Collyns in Lima @yachay_dc

Mon 27 Jul 2020 20.01 EDTFirst published on Mon 27 Jul 2020 19.42 EDT

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Fishing and tourist boats are anchored in the bay of San Cristobal, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.
 Fishing and tourist boats are anchored in the bay of San Cristóbal, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Photograph: Adrian Vasquez/AP

Ecuador has sounded the alarm after its navy discovered a huge fishing fleet of mostly Chinese-flagged vessels some 200 miles from the Galápagos Islands, the archipelago which inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

About 260 ships are currently in international waters just outside a 188-mile wide exclusive economic zone around the island, but their presence has already raised the prospect of serious damage to the delicate marine ecosystem, said a former environment minister, Yolanda Kakabadse.

“This fleet’s size and aggressiveness against marine species is a big threat to the balance of species in the Galápagos,” she told the Guardian.

Kakabadse and an ex-mayor of Quito, Roque Sevilla, were on Monday put in charge of designing a “protection strategy” for the islands, which lie 563 miles west of the South American mainland.

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Chinese fishing vessels come every year to the seas around the Galápagos, which were declared a Unesco world heritage site in 1978, but this year’s fleet is one of the largest seen in recent years.

Sevilla said that diplomatic efforts would be made to request the withdrawal of the Chinese fishing fleet. “Unchecked Chinese fishing just on the edge of the protected zone is ruining Ecuador’s efforts to protect marine life in the Galápagos,” he said.

He added that the team would also seek to enforce international agreements that protect migratory species. The Galápagos marine reserve has one of the world’s greatest concentrations of shark species, including endangered whale and hammerhead varieties.

Kakabadse said efforts would also be made to extend the exclusive economic zone to a 350-mile circumference around the islands which would join up with the Ecuadorian mainland’s economic zone, closing off a corridor of international waters in between the two where the Chinese fleet is currently located.

Shark finning: why the ocean’s most barbaric practice continues to boom

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Ecuador is also trying to establish a corridor of marine reserves between Pacific-facing neighbours Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia which would seal off important areas of marine diversity, Kakabadse said.

Ecuador’s president, Lenín Moreno, described the archipelago as “one of the richest fishing areas and a seedbed of life for the entire planet”, in a message on Twitter over the weekend.

The Galápagos Islands are renowned for their unique plants and wildlife. Unesco describes the archipelago – visited by a quarter of a million tourists every year – as a “living museum and a showcase for evolution”.Advertisementhttps://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

The Ecuadorian navy has been monitoring the fishing fleet since it was spotted last week, according to the country’s defence minister, Oswaldo Jarrín. “We are on alert, [conducting] surveillance, patrolling to avoid an incident such as what happened in 2017,” he said.

The 2017 incident he referred to was the capture by the Ecuadorean navy within the Galápagos marine reserve of a Chinese vessel. The Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999, part of an even larger fleet than the current one, was found to be carrying 300 tonnes of marine wildlife, mostly sharks.

“We were appalled to discover that a massive Chinese industrial fishing fleet is currently off the Galápagos Islands,” said John Hourston, a spokesman for the Blue Planet Society, a NGO which campaigns against overfishing.

China risking new pandemic even more deadly than COVID as hotbed for new viruses exposed

CHINESE factory farming is creating the perfect environment for “the mutation and amplification of new viruses” and unless conditions improve “this pandemic will not be the last one”, a leading scientist has warned.

By BRIAN MCGLEENONPUBLISHED: 14:07, Sun, Jul 19, 2020 | UPDATED: 14:26, Sun, Jul 19, 2020

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1311508/china-coronavirus-factory-farms-new-pandemic-virus-pathogen-swine-flu-avian-flu

China: Chebeiyong waters cleaned after swarm of dead fish found

Global Head of Research and Animal Welfare for Animals in Farming Kate Blaszak described the growth of intensive farming units not just in China but across the world and pointed to them as having the potential to both increase antibiotic resistance and create a deadlier pathogen than COVID-19. Speaking to Express.co.uk Ms Blaszak said: “China is incubating two new strains of bird flu. It is also dealing with an outbreak of swine flu, which is a mixture of human, pig, and avian influenza viruses.

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“These different viruses mixed together to form a very potent pathogen.

“The current swine flu virus that has broken out in China has the potential to bind very successfully in the human throat and respiratory system.”

The veterinary scientist said in the last ten to 15 years China has seen a vast and rapid shift away from traditional farming practices and is now emulating the US model of high-intensity farming were animals are kept in dark, confined environments.

Ms Blaszak described the new factory farming system in China as lacking regulations and operating with very poor animal welfare principles.

Chinese pig farms are propagating viruses

Chinese pig farms are propagating viruses (Image: GETTY)

The hundreds of millions of animals contained within the new factory systems are under so much stress that is lowering their immune systems making them need constant feeds of antibiotics to stay healthy and alive.

Ms Blaszak said: “These kinds of low welfare environments lower animals immunities and allows viruses to propagate.

“They create the perfect scenario for the mixing of viruses and the mutation and amplification of viruses.”

She added waste from farms, the movement of large amounts of animals and the processing of animals are also a risk to humans.

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A duck farm in China

A duck farm in China (Image: GETTY)

The scientist warned of the high risk of animal to human infections from having live animals at wet markets.

The cause for concern in China is the fact that it is moving towards a US model of intensified meat production, where the majority of animals are factory farmed.

China is the biggest pig producer in the world and the second-biggest chicken producer in the world.

Ms Blaszak describes how the high numbers of high density, genetically uniform animals are the perfect conditions for another virus to propagate that could potentially jump to humans.

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A chicken farm in China

A chicken farm in China (Image: GETTY)

The animals that are genetically uniform and crammed side by side need yearly inoculations to protect them against the ravages of quickly mutating viruses.

It takes a long time and considerable expense to develop vaccines for the new viruses being formed, and when a vaccine comes out it is not long before it must be changed because of the rapid mutation of these influenza viruses.

Furthermore, because 75 percent of antibiotics are used in the rearing of farm animals there is the added risk of creating extremely resistant bacteria.

Much of these antibiotics are used to promote growth rather than cure illness.

A Chicken processing plant in China

A Chicken processing plant in China (Image: GETTY)

Ms Blaszak said: “Without huge amounts of anti-biotics a lot of animals would be unwell and die and these intensified farming systems would not work.

“So, antibiotics just prop up the system for the next pandemic.”

However, Ms Blaszak said: “To be fair China is banning the use of antibiotics in animal food and water at the end of 2020.”

Since 2018 African swine flu, which originated in factory farms in Mexico, has wiped out the vast majority of smallholder pig farmers in China.

A pig factory in China

A pig factory in China (Image: GETTY)

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1311508/china-coronavirus-factory-farms-new-pandemic-virus-pathogen-swine-flu-avian-flu

Banned: No more pangolin scales in traditional medicine, China declares

by Elizabeth Claire Alberts on 10 June 2020

https://news.mongabay.com/2020/06/banned-no-more-pangolin-scales-in-traditional-medicine-china-declares/?fbclid=IwAR1uE9-5QByBEsd36QixYSKf-ZtGxIDGYVtq78qh6Wl8c6f_hL6Hbtz76Is

  • The Chinese government has banned pangolin scales from use in traditional Chinese medicine, and elevated pangolins to be a level one protected species within China.
  • Conservationists say they believe this move will completely shut down the commercial trade of pangolin parts within China and slow the international trade of the species.
  • Pangolins are one of the most widely trafficked animals in the world, despite being protected under CITES Appendix I, which bans most international trade.

The Chinese government has officially removed pangolin scales from a list of approved ingredients in traditional medicine, a momentous move that could bring an end to the large-scale illegal trade in the scaly anteaters, conservationists say.

The eight species of pangolins are together one of the most widely trafficked animals in the world, with more than a million individuals traded since 2000, according to a CITES report. In 2019 alone, more than 97 tons of scales from more than 150,000 African pangolins were intercepted by authorities, according to data collected by the African Pangolin Working Group.

Pangolins are one of the most trafficked species in the world. Image by Paul Hilton for WildAid.

“That’s only the scales that are intercepted, which is only about 10% of the trade, so you can imagine how many pangolins are being traded on the African continent,” Ray Jansen, chairman of the African Pangolin Working Group and member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Pangolin Specialist Group, told Mongabay.

This trade has persisted despite pangolins being a protected species under CITES Appendix I, which prohibits all international trade except in extraordinary circumstances. However, CITES does not regulate the commercial trade of the species within a country, which is why the sale of pangolin parts has persisted in China.

The delisting of pangolins for use in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which was reported on June 9 by media outlet China Health Times, follows the Chinese State Forestry and Grassland Administration’s (SFGA) announcement that pangolins are now a national level one protected species in China. That gives pangolins the same protection as a species listed under CITES Appendix I, says Steve Blake, the chief China representative for WildAid.

Pangolin scales seized in Cameroon. Image by Keith Cameron/USFWS via Wikicommons (CC BY 2.0)
Pangolin scales seized in Cameroon. Image by Keith Cameron / USFWS via Wikicommons (CC BY 2.0)

This news follows the Chinese government imposing a ban on the consumption of wildlife and moving to shut down existing wildlife farms in several Chinese provinces. Those actions, in turn, were precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, believed to have started at a wildlife market in Wuhan.

Blake said he welcomes the news of pangolins being delisted for TCM, which he said will lead to a termination of the legal trade of pangolin products in China.

“More details are yet to come on the products already on the market or how long legal sales will still be available, but it’s only a matter of time now,” he told Mongabay. “And when they are all illegal it sends a very clear signal to both the consumer and enforcement officers, leaving no room for confusion or laundering illegal products. It is a very significant step in curbing the pangolin trade. It’s a very similar situation to what happened in 1993 when tiger bone and rhino horn were removed, recognizing that the use of these products in the practice is not sustainable with such rapidly depleting populations, and that there are many viable alternatives available.”

A baby Philippine pangolin (Manis culionensis). Image by Gregg Yan.

But it’s doubtful the trade will end overnight, Blake said, adding that more work is required to enforce these new rules.

“There needs to be a combination of clearer regulations, stronger enforcement, and stronger public awareness to effectively end these wildlife consumption issues,” he said. “All three of these are headed in the right direction, but just last year alone saw authorities around the world seize 130 tons of pangolin products. This is enormous. There needs to be even more initiatives to reduce demand and punish illegal sales to end this trade. But these two recent announcements from China will help with that tremendously.”

Pangolin scales are widely used in TCM based on the belief that they have special medicinal and spiritual qualities, despite only consisting of keratin, the same substance that makes up human hair and fingernails. The scales are ground up into a powder and sold in more than 60 different commercial products in China, according to Jansen, who works with the South African government to monitor the trade.

Pangolin. Image by Paul Hilton for WildAid.

“Banning pangolin scale powder out of Chinese pharmacopoeia means literally that there is and will be no more demand,” Jansen said.

He added he doesn’t believe the pangolin trade will “go underground” following the announcement.

“Once it’s banned, I think it’s going to be very, very difficult to make it commercially available in China because it [TCM] is almost like Western medicine and regulated,” he said. “So it’s a massive turning point in terms of the conservation of all eight species of pangolins.”

Banner image caption: A baby pangolin holding onto its mother. Image by Paul Hilton for WildAid.

Elizabeth Claire Alberts is a staff writer for Mongabay. Follow her on Twitter @ECAlberts.

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China Fresh Meat Lovers Lament Death of Live Poultry Markets

China Fresh Meat Lovers Lament Death of Live Poultry Markets

Bloomberg NewsBloombergJuly 13, 2020

https://theecologist.org/2020/jul/09/meat-and-pandemics-surprising-link

China Fresh Meat Lovers Lament Death of Live Poultry Markets

(Bloomberg) —

Chen Yu used to walk a short distance to a nearby market to get fresh poultry. Now, to stew a pot of chicken soup or cook a whole duck for family gatherings, she has to take two buses downtown to buy the meat.

“Live poultry cannot be sold in my neighborhood market now,” said Chen, a housewife in her 50s who lives in China’s Jingdezhen city. In the bigger market about 40 minutes away, there’s a special containment room for live birds. “You can see them, point at one of them, then the owner will have it slaughtered. Picking the duck yourself is not what matters. The key is you see them live.”

China will gradually close all live poultry markets to cut public health risks and step up supervision of farmers’ markets amid the Covid-19 outbreaks, Chen Xu, an official with the State Administration for Market Regulation, said this month. Live animal sales are still taking place in markets with containment rooms in some cities, but they will also eventually stop operating.

The pandemic has put China’s farmers’ markets under global scrutiny as the virus is thought to have originated from a wet market in Wuhan where exotic animals were suspected of being sold. In some provinces, fresh seafood and equipment like chopping boards are being tested. Scientists are still probing the origins of the virus.

China consumed more than 19 million tons of poultry in 2018, becoming the largest consumer by volume after the U.S., according to the USDA. The number surged to almost 23 million tons in 2019 following the African swine fever outbreak in the Asian nation, the U.S. agency said, citing China’s farm ministry data.

Bird Flu

China has been temporarily closing live poultry markets because of bird flu outbreaks for years. In 2017, officials in some affected areas ordered the markets to shut, and culled more than 1 million infected or susceptible fowl. Consumers were advised to buy chilled or frozen chicken instead of freshly prepared products from markets, and to thoroughly cook the meat.

In 2006, China’s State Council announced it will gradually ban the trading and killing of live poultry in big cities, encouraging killing to be undertaken at professional slaughterhouses instead. In Chen’s city, however, changes slowly started taking place in the second half of 2019 and now her neighborhood market has stopped selling them.

A fresh Covid-19 attack in Beijing after it largely controlled the outbreak has again triggered concerns about biosecurity. The capital shuttered its largest fruit and vegetable supply center last month and locked down nearby housing districts as dozens of people associated with the wholesale market tested positive for the coronavirus.

Despite risks related to live animal slaughter, many meat consumers don’t seem to worry about live birds. Generally, customers don’t feel assured when they buy poultry from shelves of a shop, said Wang Xiaoying, a poultry dealer in Jingdezhen city of the Jiangxi province. “They say it’s not fresh.”

Quest for Fresh

Fresh poultry means so much to some Chinese people that Wang uses her WeChat not only as an online messaging tool, but also as a platform to promote fresh poultry delivery. Posting pictures of fresh, clean and feather-plucked birds from time to time, she emphasizes in the caption that the poultry she offers are “freshly killed upon ordering.”

Wang does not worry about the avian flu, saying that she has been in the business for more than two decades. Whenever the city government orders a ban on live poultry trading amid occasional bird flu outbreaks, her family business comes to a halt. The longest halt, Wang said, was as long as six months.

For Wang, however, the full ban initiative is bad news. As of now, she’s still able to operate as the new policy will be implemented in phases. If the birds are to be processed only at centralized slaughterhouses, she fears her business could halve. She also sells processed poultry meat, but their sales have been much lower than that of live birds.

The new Chinese policy may disappoint many customers, like housewife Chen. “We might find it hard at first, but we’ll get used to it,” she said.

(Updates to add USDA data in fifth paragraph)

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

Subscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Bloomberg NewsBloombergJuly 13, 2020

China Fresh Meat Lovers Lament Death of Live Poultry Markets

(Bloomberg) —

Chen Yu used to walk a short distance to a nearby market to get fresh poultry. Now, to stew a pot of chicken soup or cook a whole duck for family gatherings, she has to take two buses downtown to buy the meat.

“Live poultry cannot be sold in my neighborhood market now,” said Chen, a housewife in her 50s who lives in China’s Jingdezhen city. In the bigger market about 40 minutes away, there’s a special containment room for live birds. “You can see them, point at one of them, then the owner will have it slaughtered. Picking the duck yourself is not what matters. The key is you see them live.”

China will gradually close all live poultry markets to cut public health risks and step up supervision of farmers’ markets amid the Covid-19 outbreaks, Chen Xu, an official with the State Administration for Market Regulation, said this month. Live animal sales are still taking place in markets with containment rooms in some cities, but they will also eventually stop operating.

The pandemic has put China’s farmers’ markets under global scrutiny as the virus is thought to have originated from a wet market in Wuhan where exotic animals were suspected of being sold. In some provinces, fresh seafood and equipment like chopping boards are being tested. Scientists are still probing the origins of the virus.

China consumed more than 19 million tons of poultry in 2018, becoming the largest consumer by volume after the U.S., according to the USDA. The number surged to almost 23 million tons in 2019 following the African swine fever outbreak in the Asian nation, the U.S. agency said, citing China’s farm ministry data.

Bird Flu

China has been temporarily closing live poultry markets because of bird flu outbreaks for years. In 2017, officials in some affected areas ordered the markets to shut, and culled more than 1 million infected or susceptible fowl. Consumers were advised to buy chilled or frozen chicken instead of freshly prepared products from markets, and to thoroughly cook the meat.

In 2006, China’s State Council announced it will gradually ban the trading and killing of live poultry in big cities, encouraging killing to be undertaken at professional slaughterhouses instead. In Chen’s city, however, changes slowly started taking place in the second half of 2019 and now her neighborhood market has stopped selling them.

A fresh Covid-19 attack in Beijing after it largely controlled the outbreak has again triggered concerns about biosecurity. The capital shuttered its largest fruit and vegetable supply center last month and locked down nearby housing districts as dozens of people associated with the wholesale market tested positive for the coronavirus.

Despite risks related to live animal slaughter, many meat consumers don’t seem to worry about live birds. Generally, customers don’t feel assured when they buy poultry from shelves of a shop, said Wang Xiaoying, a poultry dealer in Jingdezhen city of the Jiangxi province. “They say it’s not fresh.”

Quest for Fresh

Fresh poultry means so much to some Chinese people that Wang uses her WeChat not only as an online messaging tool, but also as a platform to promote fresh poultry delivery. Posting pictures of fresh, clean and feather-plucked birds from time to time, she emphasizes in the caption that the poultry she offers are “freshly killed upon ordering.”

Wang does not worry about the avian flu, saying that she has been in the business for more than two decades. Whenever the city government orders a ban on live poultry trading amid occasional bird flu outbreaks, her family business comes to a halt. The longest halt, Wang said, was as long as six months.

For Wang, however, the full ban initiative is bad news. As of now, she’s still able to operate as the new policy will be implemented in phases. If the birds are to be processed only at centralized slaughterhouses, she fears her business could halve. She also sells processed poultry meat, but their sales have been much lower than that of live birds.

The new Chinese policy may disappoint many customers, like housewife Chen. “We might find it hard at first, but we’ll get used to it,” she said.

(Updates to add USDA data in fifth paragraph)

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

Subscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.