- Pakistan seizes five Chinese trawlers from Gwadar
- These trawlers were accused of illegally fishing in Pakistani waters
- Pakistani fishermen took out a big rally against China
Pakistan has seized five Chinese fishing boats illegally in the Arabian Sea near the city of Gwadar. Pakistan has taken this action after the protest of local fishermen. These Chinese boats were fishing in the Economic Exclusive Zone of Pakistan without approval. Local fishermen, who lost their land in Gwadar to China, are now afraid of losing their fishing area in the sea.
Five Chinese trawlers detained from Gwadar
According to a report in The Guardian, Chinese trawlers laden with fish have been detained by the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency. China is building a deep sea port in Gwadar through the Belt and Road Initiative. Pakistani agencies have started investigation into the suspicious presence of these boats near this important strategic location. Pakistan suspects that under the guise of Chinese fishermen, enemy countries can also carry out any action.
Chinese boats were catching fish for several weeks
These Chinese boats were fishing in this area for the last several weeks. After which the local fishermen gathered in hundreds and took out a rally against the Chinese trawlers. These fishermen have accused Chinese boats of fishing in Pakistani waters and sending the fish back to China. Local officials and a group of fishermen visited one of the Chinese trawlers on Sunday to determine whether his fish had been caught in provincial waters.
Demand to auction the caught fish
Fisherfolk Alliance Gwadar President Khuddad Waju said the fishermen believe that Chinese trawlers caught the fish off the Gwadar coast. They are visiting other Chinese trawlers today to learn more. We demand that these fish be auctioned in Gwadar and not taken to China.
Local fishermen opposed China
Akbar Ras, 70, has been a fisherman for five decades. He said that we have been fishing here for centuries. My grandfather was a fisherman and my children are also fishermen. This ocean gives us life. Chinese trawlers are here to destroy our livelihood. We will oppose them until the government stops giving them fishing rights.
Gwadar became China’s for 40 years
The port of Gwadar is considered the gateway to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). It is a multi-dollar Chinese megaproject, which China is developing to gain a strategic edge. In 2017, Pakistan handed over control of the port of Gwadar to China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC), a Chinese state-run company, under a 40-year lease agreement.
At the same time, Zhang Baozhong, chairman of China Overseas Port Holding Company, which is handling Gwadar Port, denied that the detained Chinese trawlers were fishing in Gwadar. They claimed that these trawlers were taking shelter to escape a storm. He claimed that the Chinese trawlers followed the rules of the International Maritime Organization.