Zhang Chun

Zhang Chun is a senior researcher at chinadialogue.

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Cracking Down on the Swim Bladder Smugglers

By Zhang Chun 2019-04-30 19:06:51

China’s craze for the swim bladder of the totoaba, a giant Mexican fish, has driven it close to extinction. Dubbed “aquatic cocaine," trade in the delicacy is banned, but smuggling is still a major problem. There is new hope, however, thanks to increased awareness of the issue in China and better cooperation with both Mexico and the United States, a major transit point. Since the beginning of 2018, Chinese customs authorities have uncovered five cases of smuggling in totoaba swim bladders,...

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Tackling the Trade in Endangered Marine Species

By Zhang Chun 2019-04-26 10:52:47

Earlier this year in Rome, scientists from around the world debated the need to control trade in the endangered shortfin mako shark. The meeting of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) was to determine if this species, along with a handful of others, should be given protection under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The decision in the end was not a positive one for the shortfin mako, with the expert panel declaring...

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Five Ways to Tackle Ghost Fishing Gear

By Zhang Chun 2018-12-30 17:29:05

Fishing gear that’s lost or dumped in the ocean may account for almost one half of all the plastic waste that ends up there. But this equipment, which is manufactured for fishing or aquaculture, isn’t ordinary waste because it continues to do what it was designed for – trapping marine life, with devastating consequences. Global awareness of the issue is growing though. In Shenzhen, Karachi and the Mediterranean, for example, diving organisations are removing nets from...

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China Cracks Down on Illegal Fishing in Distant Water Fleet

By Zhang Chun 2018-09-14 16:02:43

China’s fishery authorities have introduced hard-hitting punishments for overfishing and illegal fishing by the country’s distant water fishing (DWF) vessels. Chinese DWF vessels have been operating in the high seas or in other countries’ exclusive economic zones for 30 years, but the authorities have taken a low-key approach to acts of wrongdoing. That changed in February this year when the Ministry of Agriculture published, for the first time, a list of DWF companies and vessels it had penalized in 2017. Typical punishments included the loss...

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Challenges Facing the UN High Seas Treaty

By Zhang Chun 2018-09-07 19:10:21

The high seas cover two thirds of the ocean and are home to 90% of marine life, but this vast expanse of water and seabed that lies beyond the national jurisdiction of any one country has no comprehensive protection. In an effort to fix this, countries are meeting at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York until 18 September, marking the start of a two-year process to agree a treaty to protect the high seas. This is needed because unrestrained and increasingly risky exploitation of...

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