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VOA Asia Weekly: Why Climate Change Leads to More Illegal Fishing

VOA Asia Weekly: Why Climate Change Leads to More Illegal Fishing
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British report says climate change leads to more illegal fishing. Australia, U.K. and U.S. partner on nuclear subs. China selects new Premier. North Korea tests missiles during military drills. Malaysia's Michelle Yeoh wins Oscar.

The connection between climate change and illegal fishing.

Welcome to VOA Asia Weekly. I'm Jessica Stone in Washington. That story is just ahead, but first, making headlines.

Australia is set to buy three nuclear powered submarines to patrol the pacific. U.S. President Joe Biden announced the deal alongside the leaders of Australia and the UK – in San Diego, California. The three nations intend to create a state of the art production line for nuclear submarines as part of a strategy to counter China in the region.

Asian stock markets have been battered this week on news that one of the United States’ biggest banks failed. Silicon Valley Bank was a prime lender to technology startups around the world. Japanese markets led the fall on Tuesday, followed by South Korea and Australia. But markets began to bounce back in Wednesday's trading.

This week, Beijing began issuing visas – for all types of foreign tourists – ending a three-year ban imposed to fight covid-19. The government said that visa-free entry will resume for cruise ships coming into Shanghai and for those traveling to Hainan Island. Neither had visa requirements before the pandemic.

China has a new premier. He's Li Qiang, a former Communist party chief of Shanghai and a close ally of Xi Jinping. Li is the first premier since the founding of the people’s republic who has never served in the central government. Li will be faced with reviving a sluggish Chinese economy without triggering inflation or piling on debt.

North Korea tested two short-range ballistic missiles Tuesday, just as the U.S-South Korea military drills got underway. The exercises will last for 11 days and include the largest field exercises in five years. Pyongyang's tests are the latest in a series, with the isolated nation claiming it successfully launched two cruise missiles earlier in the week.

A report from Britain's Royal United Services Institute shows illegal fishing around the world will worsen with climate change. Henry Ridgwell reports.

Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing — or IUU fishing — is worth up to 36.4 billion dollars annually and represents up to 33 percent of the global catch, according to a report from Britain’s Royal United Services Institute, a defense and security think tank.

As climate change warms the world’s oceans, fish stocks move into cooler, deeper waters. And criminal operations are expected to follow.

“Chasing those fish stocks as they move. And there’s predictions or obviously concern that they will move in across existing maritime boundaries, and IUU actors will pursue them across those boundaries.”

That in turn will impact local coastal fishing communities.

Many poorer countries do not have the capacity to police their waters. In parts of Africa and South America, coastal community members say foreign trawlers, including vessels from China, have devastated fish stocks.

“When the Chinese were not here [before the Chinese boats arrived], at least, if a fisherman goes to the sea, he can at least have something good.”

China denies its fleets conduct illegal fishing.

The United States Coast Guard said in 2021 that IUU fishing had replaced piracy as the leading global maritime security threat.

The British report identifies a warming South China Sea as a flashpoint. Already, fishing grounds and maritime boundaries are hotly contested — with frequent armed confrontations.

“Many relate to China’s commitment to the nine-dash line, which is the country’s self-declared sort of maritime boundary. And they enforce that through armed fishing militia. ”

This month, United Nations member states agreed to a High Seas Treaty to protect biodiversity, establishing vast marine protected areas.

Henry Ridgwell, for VOA News, London.

And finally, Malaysia – booleh. The words that Janet Yeoh said as she watched her daughter, Michelle Yeoh win the Oscar for best actress this week.

Booleh – means nothing is impossible.

Janet watched the win from a party in Kuala Lumpur where she messaged Michelle shortly after the announcement.

Michelle accepted the golden statue, saying it was quote ”for all the little boys and girls who look like me.”

Michelle Yeoh is the first woman and only the second woman of color to receive an Oscar for best actress in the award’s 95 year history.

Visit for the most up-to-date stories. Thanks for watching VOA Asia Weekly. I'm Jessica Stone. Until next week.