China’s Appetite Pushes Fisheries to the Brink

What happens when your country: 

  • Has largely emptied your surrounding oceans of fish;

  • Is experiencing a growing appetite for and ability to afford seafood;

  • And has a foreign fishing fleet over 10 times bigger than the U.S.'s?

Chances are, you'll travel to oceans thousands of miles away and beat back foreign countries' fishers. According to the New York Times

"China’s distant-water fishing fleet has grown to nearly 2,600 vessels (the United States has fewer than one-tenth as many), with 400 boats coming into service between 2014 and 2016 alone. Most of the Chinese ships are so large that they scoop up as many fish in one week as Senegalese boats catch in a year, costing West African economies $2 billion a year, according to a new study published by the journal Frontiers in Marine Science."

This wasn't inevitable, though. China's fishing exploits depend heavily on domestic subsidies and foreign corruption. They also depend on a notion of seafood defined exclusively by catching and killing creatures from the sea. 

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