Chinese predation deeply threatens the ecosystems of Latin American countries with coasts mainly on the Pacific Ocean, although its incursions into the Atlantic have not been rare, as in the case of Argentina, which has had to dispose of several fishing boats that have illegally entered its territorial sea, sinking a couple of them in the process.
When the world was busy fighting the global pandemic of Coronavirus, in July-August 2020, a vast fleet of more than 300 Chinese fishing vessels was reported to be operating at the edge of the 200-mile EEZ off the Galapagos Islands on Ecuador’s western seaboard.
Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing is one of the gravest non-traditional global maritime security threats facing nations as there is an alarming depletion of fish in the sea. This concern has been flagged worldwide. However, China, despite being a member of the UN Security Council and a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as well as being committed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the Paris Conference 2015 blatantly disregards this and has in fact been ranked as the worst offender on the IUU Index last published in 2019,” Commodore Anil Jai Singh, Vice President Indian Maritime Foundation tells Financial Express Online.
The Galapagos Marine Reserve located within this EEZ is a UNESCO heritage site due to its delicate marine bio-diversity and the presence of many rare and endangered species of marine life. UNESCO has described it as a ‘living museum and showcase for evolution’.
“And the situation around the Galapagos Islands, which is one of the largest ecological reserves in the world, and therefore protected from predation, has been such that Ecuador has requested military assistance from its neighbours in the form of a joint ocean patrol that allows facing the fleet of more than a thousand fishing vessels that continually seek to enter its waters to prey in this rich area, this being a threat against biodiversity and the natural balance of the ocean in this region,” Bogota based Stephan Xavier Beltrán Gómez, Defense Analyst, Content Director of Infomilitar Colombia (Youtube) tells Financial Express Online.
According to Stephan Xavier Beltrán Gómez, “The formation of this joint patrol would be fundamental in the protection of the entire biome of the western South Pacific Ocean, since both Colombia with its natural reserves of Malpelo and Gorgona, as well as Chile with its overseas territories of Easter Island, have the same challenges security and protection of its threatened natural resources.
And although for these countries the importance of joint work in this regard is evident, in practice it has collided with all kinds of interests that have prevented a greater collaboration of the naval forces of the countries involved outside the scope of sharing information in this regard.”
China is a predatory power that in recent years has increased its influence in Latin America, economically and politically. In Venezuela, and in compliance with the debt that the Chavista regime has contracted with Beijing, the mining region of the lower Orinoco has been plundered in such a way that large natural areas have become wastelands full of craters like the lunar landscape.
“For Colombia, China has become its second trading partner behind the United States. Although the country has not compromised the dominance of the exploitation of its natural resources against Chinese capital, it has increased the import of manufactured products from the Asian giant