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Current Affairs

QUAD maritime surveillance initiative

Date: 24 May 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

To protect exclusive economic zones in the Indo-Pacific against environmental damage, QUAD countries will launch a maritime surveillance initiative.

 

Background

The QUAD is a grouping of Australia, India, Japan and the United States. It is dubbed as an alliance against China.

 

Details

The maritime surveillance initiative will act against massive and reckless deepwater fishing by Chinese trawlers in the region.

 

Working

  • Satellite technology will be used to connect existing surveillance centres in India, Singapore and the Pacific.

  • The satellite technology will be able to track illegal fishing activities from the Indian Ocean and South-east Asia to the South Pacific.

 

Aim

  • The aim is to monitor illicit fishing vessels that have their AIS (automatic identification system) transponders turned off to evade tracking.

  • The move will also reduce the small Pacific island nations’ growing reliance on China.

 

Threat of illegal fishing

  • Unregulated fishing will pose a grave threat to the livelihood and food security of millions of people.

  • Globally, around 60 million people are involved in the sector of fisheries and aquaculture. Fish is also a major source of protein for poor people.

  • Illegal fishing results in losses of around USD 20 billion annually. It is considered a serious maritime threat.

  • Collapse of fishing can destabilize coastal nations and pose a much bigger security risk. It can start human trafficking, drug crime and terror recruiting.

 

Role of China

  • China is considered as the biggest offender as far as illegal fishing is concerned. About 85-90% of cases are Chinese.

  • Chinese government offers subsidies to distant-water fishing companies to carry out illegal fishing in far-off places.

  • These vessels plunder huge amounts of marine wealth. The fishing fleet also bullies boats from smaller countries.

  • They have been accused of indulging in destructive practises such as bottom trawling and the use of forced, bonded and slave labour and trafficked crew.