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China Refutes U.S. Groundless Fishing Accusations

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Monday refuted U.S. unjustified accusations of so-called “illegal fishing,” saying that the United States needs to first of all take a hard look at itself and think seriously about how to stop the illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities of its own fishing vessels.

Spokesperson Mao Ning made the remarks at a press conference when answering a relevant question.

Mao said that according to international law and customary international practice, the subjects of IUU activities are fishing vessels. The IUU activities of individual fishing vessels should not be attributed to their countries.

“There is no legal basis whatsoever for the United States to broadly identify a nation for IUU fishing based on the activities conducted by a small number of fishing vessels. Such sweeping identification seriously disrupts international fisheries cooperation, and it is nothing but political manipulation,” Mao said.

China is a responsible country and deeply committed to science-based conservation and sustainable use of international fisheries resources, Mao said. China exercises the right to develop and use the fisheries resources on the high seas in accordance with relevant international laws including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

“We actively fulfill our international obligations, and have put in place a complete system of distant-water fisheries management. We follow the world’s most rigorous steps in vessel position monitoring and management, and we have taken the lead in implementing voluntary fishing moratoriums in certain parts of the high seas and worked with the international community to crack down on IUU fishing,” Mao said.

China has joined eight regional fisheries management organizations including the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, and its compliance record has always ranked high in all of those organizations, Mao said.

She pointed out that by contrast, the United States has exceeded catch limits for tuna in western and central Pacific Ocean in violation of relevant international laws over the years. “What is more, at the recent annual meeting of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, the United States was found suspected of 13 IUU fishing activities, more than any other member countries, which involve the fishing of whale sharks and turtles and harming sharks.”

“Before identifying other nations as engaged in IUU fishing without valid reasons, the United States needs to first of all take a hard look at itself and think seriously about how to stop the IUU fishing activities of its own fishing vessels,” Mao said.