context: The white paper was released in response to international accusations of illegal fishing around the world by China’s huge DWF (distant-water fishing) fleet. As a member of eight RFMOs (regional fisheries and management organisations), the state promises higher compliance with their regulations, with stricter control on the quantity and operation of DWF vessels in the 14th 5-year plan period. Calling for a ‘maritime community with shared future’, it promises to become deeply involved in global ocean governance.

A white paper on the state’s DWF compliance was issued by MARA (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs) on 21 November. Introducing the stance, policy initiatives, and compliance results in DWF management, the white paper includes

  • fulfilling the responsibility of the flag state
    • running a licensing system for DWF vessels
    • controlling the total number of vessels within 3,000
    • collecting DWF data and reporting to RFMOs
    • sending national observers onto vessels
    • conducting voluntary squid fishing closure on high seas
  • monitoring DWF activities
  • promoting sustainable use of resources
    • applying harvest strategies, such as fishing quota as required by RFMOs
    • conducting ecosystem-based fisheries management
  • strengthening scientific support
    • assessing, monitoring and restoring fishery resources
  • building infrastructure and capacity
    • upgrading vessels
    • setting up DWF information system
    • training regulation-savvy talent
  • improving bilateral and multilateral cooperation