Fishing fleet cutback preserves resources
China Daily – Beijing,China
China’s fishery authorities yesterday pledged to continue downsizing the country’s fishing fleet to help cap overfishing and preserve resources.
Liu Zheng, deputy director of the Fisheries Bureau at the Ministry of Agriculture, yesterday said at least 7,950 fishing boats had withdrawn from China’s offshore waters by November.
Meanwhile, the bureau had transferred 40,000 fishermen to other jobs between January and November, he told a national gathering of provincial fishery chiefs yesterday in Beijing.
The efforts are part of an eight-year plan that started last year to cut the number of China’s offshore fishing vessels by 10 per cent — from 222,000 at the end of 2002 to 192,000 in 2010, according to Zhang Hecheng, another bureau official.
“As a country with the world’s largest number of fishing vessels and fishermen, China will strictly control its fishing by cutting its fishing workforce and vessels,” Liu said.
This will help reverse the deterioration of the offshore environment and replenish fishery resources, he said.
The deputy director asked provincial fishery chiefs to beef up schemes to reduce the numbers of boats in fishing fleets through various means, including capping the building of new vessels, scrapping unseaworthy ships and implementing fishing permit systems.
Apart from curbing offshore fishing through downsizing fleets, the country plans to expand aquaculture (fish farming) operations, Liu said.
To pursue sustainable fishery development, China has turned to vigorously developing aquaculture, and since 1999, it has been pursuing “zero growth” in offshore fishing, according to ministry sources.