The Chinese vessel Lu Qing Yuan Yu 276, that arrived yesterday in the Port of Montevideo, unloaded another dead crew member.
According to official data, to date, vessels Yun Mao No. 168, OuYa 17, and Fu Chian, and now Lu Qing Yuan Yu 276, unloaded four deceased crew members in the Port of Montevideo (1).
Three of the boats are of Chinese origin, and one of Taiwanese origin; two of them are repeat offenders, since in 2017 they had also unloaded dead crew.
The Chinese fishing vessels lead the global ranking of Slavery in the Fishing Industry:
China also leads the global ranking in Illegal Fishing, developed in February this year by the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime: https://globalinitiative.net/iuu-fishing-index/
According to official information revealed in 2018 by the Ministry of Defense, since 2015, foreign fishing vessels had been unloading one dead body per month in the Port of Montevideo.
Lack of control
The activities of foreign fishing vessels in the capital city’s port are carried out with little to no control: in 2018, only 10% of the vessels were inspected – and not a single Chinese fishing vessel was examined, according to DINARA (Dirección Nacional de Recursos Acuáticos).
From Oceanosanos we request all competent authorities to disclose the details into the causes of death of these four crew members as well as the autopsy results. We also request for an investigation to be opened on the living conditions on board of these vessels and about the Human Rights abuses in foreign fishing vessels to which the Port of Montevideo provides services. Our country can not be an accomplice to these crimes against humanity.
From our organization, we have reported this issue for more than a year – we met with different State agencies, with the exception of the Presidency and the Parliament’s Human Rights Comission, both of which we’re looking forward to meet with.
We understand there are organisms with the intention of facing this problem, but to this date there hasn’t been a real political will to comply with international commitments, to conserve our sea, avoid Human Rights abuse or protect the local fishing industry from the unloyal competition of these unregulated fleets.
We are concerned about the installation of a Chinese port in Uruguay and its implications, taking this context into account.
According to the FAO (United Nations):
Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing remains one of the greatest threats to marine ecosystems as a result of its powerful capacity to undermine national and regional efforts towards sustainable fisheries management, as well as sustainable initiatives aimed at the conservation of marine biodiversity. IUU fishing takes advantage of corruption in administrations and exploits shortcomings in management regimes, especially in developing countries that lack the capacity and resources to implement effective monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) initiatives. IUU fishing exists in all types and sizes of fisheries, and it occurs both on the high seas and in areas under national jurisdiction. It affects all aspects and stages of the capture and use of fish and, on occasion, may be associated with organized crime. The fishery resources available to fishers are eliminated by IUU fishing, which can lead to the collapse of local fisheries. Small-scale fisheries in developing countries are particularly vulnerable to this situation. Products derived from IUU fishing can be introduced into foreign commercial markets, thus drowning local food supplies. Consequently, IUU fishing is a threat to subsistence, it aggravates poverty and increases food insecurity.
(1)Administración Nacional de Puertos. http://www.anp.com.uy