Quartz has claimed that China is dramatically under reporting what it takes from the world’s oceans. It submits an average annual catch total of 368,000 tons per year to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, while the European Parliament has recently put the figure at 4.6 million tons. The vast bulk of this is from African waters, where it is estimated that of the 3.1 million tons the country catches, up to 2.5 million tons is likely to have been illegally fished.
Other scary statistics quoted in the article include the sobering thought that the 100 million sharks that are caught per year to satisfy the demand for shark fin soup account for around 6.4 to 7.9% of the total shark population. Manta rays are being fished at a rate of around 5,000 animals per year, as their gill rakers are being used for peng yu sai, which is:
“an ingredient for soup that they claim boosts the immune system by reducing toxins and enhancing blood circulation. Other supposed medical benefits include curing cancer, chickenpox, throat and skin ailments, male kidney issues and, as we often see with TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), fertility issues.”
The article claims that the Guangzhou gill raker trade is worth $5 million per year compared to the estimated $1 million that each manta contributes to local economies via tourism.