A special fishing trawler with capability to clean out whole fish schools. (IRNA)

July 9, 2020

Under the cover of night, Chinese vessels are illegally cleaning out fish resources in the Persian Gulf, a pro-reform Iranian daily, Sharq (Orient) disclosed on Wednesday, July 8.

Meanwhile, Iranian fishermen are forced to pay ten thousand dollars in bribes to Somalian pirates to let them fish on the African shores, Sharq reported.

Citing a farmers’ representative, Khalilollah Derakhshan, the daily says, “Since the Chinese vessels are equipped with ‘fish-detecting’ machines, they identify schools of fish at night and catch them all.”

The value of the fish caught in one single night by the Chinese in southern waters is sometimes equal to the price of their vessels, Derakhshan has lamented.

Fish trawling by Chinese vessels has been the subject of widespread protests in recent years, in Iran.

Trawling is a method of fishing that involves pulling a fishing net through the water behind one or more boats. The vessels used for trawling are also called trawlers or draggers.

Officials in the Islamic Republic have so far made contradictory statements about the presence of Chinese trawling vessels in Iranian territorial waters.

On August 18, 2019, the Deputy for Port Affairs of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran (PMOI), Mohammad Ali Hassanzadeh, revealed that Chinese ships were operating under a “long-term lease” for fishing at a depth of 200 meters (roughly 656 feet) in Iranian waters.

However, a few hours later, the Deputy Director of Maritime Affairs at the PMOI, Hadi Haqshenas, claimed that Chinese vessels were “being leased by Iranian companies.”

Meanwhile, the Islamic Republic authorities have announced that the Chinese fishing boats “licensed” by Tehran are only allowed to operate twelve miles beyond the Iranian territorial waters and catch fish at the depth of at least 200 meters (roughly 656 feet).

However, the farmers’ representative Derakhshan, has dismissed this remark as “totally false.”

Out of 91 Chinese ships, seventeen vessels remain in the Iranian territorial waters, Derakhshan told daily Sharq, adding, they are destroying Iranian resources in the country’s southern waters.

“Fishing by trawling method sweeps out the seafloor in the south, and annihilates its resources,” Derakhshan has regretfully noted, reiterating, “One of the Chinese vessels caught approximately $21.4 million of ‘mish mahi’ (salmon-bass or stone bass) overnight, which equals to the value of the trawler.”

Furthermore, Derakhshan insists, “The activity of Chinese trawlers has wiped out 1,500 fish-related jobs in Iran, and Iranian fishermen are currently forced to negotiate with Somali pirates, paying them ten thousand dollars per fishing boat to fish in African waters for a limited period.”

Earlier on June 30, the Somali government and the International Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) Network for Fisheries-related Activities announced the presence of dozens of Iranian ships for illegal fishing off the coast of Somalia.

In the winter of 2018, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) National News Agency reported that 85 percent of principal fish species in the Persian Gulf had become scarce.

The UAE government has called for an end to some fishing methods that harm sea resources.

RFE-RL

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.