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Fishing Industry Facing Dwindling Resources

27 July 2012, at 1:00am

CHINA - A severe decline resources nearly paralysed the fishing industry in eastern China earlier this year, leaving many boats anchored during the prime fishing season. Dwindling stocks brought on by years of over-fishing has become a challenge for many countries around the world. With this in mind, China and other nations are starting to exploit the resources of the South Pole, writes Zhang Wan.

Cao Yonglei has been a crewman for many years. Currently, he is preparing for a fishing trip 600 to 700 nautical miles away that will take around five months, writes Zhang Wan in CRI.

He says that ten years ago they traveled only a few dozen miles for fishing, but nowadays, they travel further, they get less.

"Previously, by spreading just one fishing net we could get dozens of tons, even hundreds of tons, of fish. The best record was as high as 600 tons. However, nowadays the best harvest is only at about 100 or 200 tons."

Department head of the Dalian Ocean Fishery Group of Corporations, Wang Jianlu, says 600 to 700 nautical miles for today's fishing vessels is not very far compared with other vessels who have to travel thousands of nautical miles. Sometimes one trip takes them two or three years.

Mr Wang added that due to a severe decline in resources, the number of fishing vessels has sharply decreased from 180 vessels to the current 18 vessels.

And the output also ends in disappointment. Taking last year as an example, they invested more than 70 million yuan in the remaining 18 vessels, but the profit was only about 10 million yuan.

"The total cost was at about 65 million yuan last year, but the output was only at 70 to 80 million at most."

Business insiders say China has seen a serious deterioration in offshore fishing resources. And the recent low output at sea is the result of excessive fishing, over exploitation and pollution, factors that have damaged fishery resources over the years.

Facing the severe decline in resources, many countries, including China, have started to turn their sights on places like the South Pole.

Xu Yucheng, department head of a fishing company in Liaoning Province, says the South Pole is very rich in resources, especially Antarctic krill. It's estimated that billions of tons of Antarctic krill are harvestable in the South Pole.

Dalian Ocean Fishery Group of Corporations organized a fishing team to the South Pole in December 2010.

"It was the first time for a Chinese vessel to fish at the South Pole, so there is a lot of room for improvement, including fishing tools, fish processing and how to choose fishing sites. That's why we didn't get the harvest we expected."

Xu adds that the nutrition from the shrimp-like crustacean is much higher than other shrimp. Countries like Japan, Russia, South Korea and Norway have realized the importance of winning a spot at the South Pole.

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