The US Coast Guard has been vigilant in their challenges and warnings regarding the growing number of Chinese fishing trawlers encroaching on the protected economic fishing zones that surround the State of Hawaii and the US possession at Midway. These fishing fleets are called "Gray Water Fleets" because their mission is not to just fish for their over one billion residents needing to be fed with seafood, but to use covert activities to observe and map various geographic points. It is a common practice used in the South China Sea (where China has seized several islands as theirs), in Philippine waters (mapping out natural gas and oil deposits on the ocean floor. The taking of Scarborough Island for a radar station), in the waters of Vietnam and Thailand.
In 2012, only one or two such trawlers were fishing in Hawaiian waters and near Midway. In 2021, a much bolder China now has sent at least 10 or more. The fleet is bolder according to the USCG, in that, despite warnings to get out of the Economic zonal waters of Hawaii (USA), they only leave when force is threatened with armed USCG ships. The same situation is arising in Midway and American Samoa (both part of the USA) with increasing tension.
The Chinese government subsidizes its commercial fishing fleet with free fuel and more pay in exchange for them fishing in waters of belonging to other countries in a passive aggressive manner and mapping and surveillance for intelligence purposes. This trawler fleet is around 3000+ large trawlers that fish for a year before returning to home ports loaded with frozen fish. In some cases, the catch ignores whatever international limits agreed upon and depletion of a species are near. They fish in all parts of the world. China has depleted much of the ocean off her own coast in search of food.
But, the increase around Hawaii, Midway, American Samoa, Palau (where the US may build a military base) seem to be attracting many more Chinese trawlers and like with the Philippines fishermen, they use aggressive intimidation tactics to scare off the locals. Off the coast of Argentina, some 200 trawlers are fishing in the exclusive economic zone waters of that country and Argentina naval assets have had to use military aggression to get them to leave. It is a fishing war. This situation is also off the Latin America waters. The Argentine Navy observed these trawlers fishing 73,000 hours in a single month. It is nothing less that plundering like pirates within a countries national waters off shore.
The attraction, at least for the Chinese in the Hawaiian waters, is that it is a huge source of tuna and squid. Tuna can easily weigh several hundreds of pounds and it is lean meat with high protein value.
The US is beefing up its coast guard with additional ships to ward off intruders around its possessions in the Pacific waters. Helicopters surveillance has increased and more aggressive warnings will be given to these pirates of the high seas. While there have been no reports of Chinese trawlers fishing within the Economic zone of California, it may be only a matter of time.
perrya (author) on May 21, 2021:
As China becomes more of an equal, the more the military option is the only way. Britain should never have turned over HK back to them, the US and others, should have halted their SCS island building way back in 2012 with force, wherever the chinese fishing trawlers violate a country's EEZ waters, their navy should aggressiviely deal with the ship.
MG Singh from UAE on May 20, 2021:
How are you going to confront China? There is no way other than the military way and in any case, I don't think you can stop China from fishing in international waters. The Americans are on a weak wicket. I dare say the birds have come home to roost for America for mollycoddling China for five decades ever since Johnson missed the opportunity to strike at China's nuclear plant in 1964, letting China go nuclear and then pouring in billions of dollars of investment and tech. America should keep this in mind when dealing with Iran.
perrya (author) on May 19, 2021:
Very much so and will have to be confronted with action to deter depletion of oceans.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 19, 2021:
That is a troublesome trend. Depleting species of fish can have far-reaching effects, not to mention the other reasons.
paguilar on May 19, 2021:
Good article. China and all communists and leftist knuckleheads are a plague on the environment. The only way communism and marxism works is to leach off other's resources. The China virus was a ploy to cripple the world so they would owe china and boost china's economy and make the world more dependent on china.