A new report from FISH-i Africa highlights the increasing levels of unregulated squid fishing activity by a Chinese fleet in the Northwest Indian Ocean.
The FISH-i Africa Task Force has been tracking this fleet on AIS since January 2015, when an initial four vessels were detected in the area. The number of vessels detected on AIS has subsequently increased – with a peak of 53 vessels detected in February 2017. The fleet appears to operate in the region seasonally – with vessels active in the NWIO between October and May each year before moving their operations to the North Pacific. AIS analysis has also identified 21 reefers supporting the fishing vessels across the three fishing seasons that were analysed, including the vessel HAI FA – which is subject to an Interpol Purple Notice.
AIS analysis indicates that the fleet is operating in the high seas, in an area not covered by any RFMO arrangement that includes squid. Therefore the fishery is considered to be unregulated. This raises concerns that overexploitation could occur and highlights the challenges encountered in monitoring and managing a fishery, when information on fishing capacity and catch levels is available only to the flag State.
The report includes analysis of vessel activities, characteristics of the fishing fleet and details of all vessels detected on AIS, from 2015 to 2017.