China says illegal fishing boats unregistered, Japan asks China to tighten control

Kyodo News quoted Japanese government sources as saying on Saturday that the Chinese government has told the Japanese side that its own registered fishing boats are not going to the area in response to the problem of Chinese fishing boats operating illegally near the “Yamato Pile”, a high-quality fishing ground in the Sea of Japan, seemingly implying that the boats operating illegally are not registered. The Japanese government has asked the Chinese side to exercise strict control in this regard.

It is reported that as many as 4,393 Chinese fishing boats were warned off by Japan’s Fisheries Agency in 2020 for allegedly operating without permission in Japan’s exclusive economic zone near Yamato Pile. The number surged by as much as four times from the previous year.

The sources said that during the “high-level consultation on ocean affairs” between the Japanese and Chinese governments in February this year, Japan urged China to take strong measures to resolve the “obvious nuisance” caused by Chinese fishing boats operating illegally near Yamato Pile, among other issues. China, however, countered that the fishing boats in question were not registered and the presence of illegal fishing vessels could not be confirmed.

The Japanese government provided China with information on the illegally operating vessels and the contents of the questioning of their crews after the above-mentioned consultations, and again requested the Chinese side to investigate, the report said. The Japan Fisheries Agency also cooperated with the Coast Guard to step up vigilance in this regard.