China’s Huge Appetite for FishA single country has accounted for about 80 percent of the fishing in the international waters just off Argentin...

China’s Huge Appetite for FishA single country has accounted for about 80 percent of the fishing in the international waters just off Argentin...China’s Huge Appetite for Fish
A single country has accounted for about 80 percent of the fishing in the international waters just off Argentina, Ecuador and Peru this year. And it is not a South American country. It is China.

In recent years, hundreds of Chinese fishing vessels have begun to operate almost 24 hours a day, seven days a week, off the coast of South America. The ships move with the seasons, from Ecuador to Peru to Argentina. China has focused on these faraway waters after depleting fish stocks closer to its own shores.

You can see the scale of this fishing effort in the maps that are part of a Times project by Steven Lee Myers, Agnes Chang, Derek Watkins and Claire Fu.

China’s fishing expansion is part of a much larger story, of course. As the world’s most populous country, and one with an economy that has grown rapidly in recent decades, China has a growing global footprint — economically, diplomatically and militarily. It needs so much fish to feed a middle class that has become vastly larger over the past generation.