China sent its first onboard observer team to high seas for monitoring illegal fishing on April 10, 2021. The ceremony held in Shidao New Harbor, Shandong Province, signified the debut of China’s fishing observing mission.
The five observers dispatched by the MARA boarded deep-sea fishing cargo ships to conduct high seas transshipment monitoring on behalf of the Chinese Government. This initiative demonstrated China’s determination and sense of responsibility as a major country to actively engage in international ocean governance and crackdown on llegal fishing.
As a responsible fishing country, China actively participates in global ocean governance. It voluntarily implements fishing moratoriums in some waters of the high seas, therefore has been widely recognized by the international community for resource conservation and sustainable utilization in the high seas. The international community pays close attention to high seas transshipment activities, and it is consensus that fishing observing is an important measure to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing with the authority to monitor and supervise transshipment activities.
To ensure well-regulated and high-quality development of the deep-sea fishing, the MARA issued a notice to tighten at-sea transshipments in the high seas in May 2020. Under the notice, since 2021 all high seas transshipment activities is required pre-operational application and post-operational oversight, and all at-sea transshipment operation in the high seas shall be supervised by MARA onboard observers.