Chile’s Navy on alert as Chinese squid-fishing fleet enter Chilean waters

The Chilean government is on alert as the Chinese fleet enters Chile’s sea territory on May 2. The Chinese fleet is said to consist of squid-fishing vessels. Officials are keeping track of the fleet via satellite 24/7.

The Chilean Navy and the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (Sernapesca) reported on May 2 that a Chinese fleet was offshore within the country’s national waters. The fleet is on its transit between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans to fish for squid. Chilean officials are monitoring the fleet to protect the country’s exclusive maritime economic zone.

Soledad Tapia, director of Sernapesca, said the Chinese fleet generally heads to the Pacific Ocean in May and passes through the Straits of Magellan.

“We are overseeing the Chinese fleet that traditionally moves through this area during this time of the year. It is about 350 ships that move from the Pacific Ocean toward the Atlantic Ocean and vice versa, in search of squid,” Tapia said

The Chinese fleet is part of an industry that fishes for squid. The squid industry takes in about US$700 million dollars each year, according to Meganoticias.

The Chinese fleet is bound for international waters, which are 200 nautical miles outside of Chile’s exclusive maritime economic zone.

Commander Fernando Gallegos, division head of the fisheries and aquaculture of the General Directorate of Maritime Territory and Merchant Marine, stressed that the Navy is carrying out a 24/7 surveillance on the Chinese fleet to protect the country’s marine resources.

“Since we started joint monitoring with the Navy, no foreign vessels have been detected fishing within our exclusive economic zone. We monitor daily, and in April, we registered 61 ships that were in transit to their designated fishing area, and it is highly likely that the number of vessels will increase in the coming days,” said Tapia, director of Sernapesca.

Also read: 

Storm Ahead: Chinese Fishing Vessels in Chilean Waters

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