International Report Shows Massive and Permanent Damage to Spratly Islands Ecosystem
Illegal fishing boats tear up the reefs, leaving them lifeless
According to the new report from the Hague Tribunal Permanent Court of Arbitration, China has pretty well laid waste to a swatch of the South China sea, especially the coral reef system of the Spratly Islands. The damage has been caused by construction of artificial islands and illegal poaching of giant clams, turtles and other fisheries.
The fishing boats use their propellers to tear up the reefs so they can harvest the clams, which are a luxury in China – along with ivory trinkets and rhino horn. The poachers leave behind a lifeless underwater seascape which will decades or even centuries to recover.
The artificial island building process smashes up part of the reef, then dumps the sediment on top of an existing reef. The damage is compounded as the silt and other residue drifts away, destroying other ecosystems in the process.
Commercial trade is illegal for all seven marine turtle species
TURTLE POACHING ON A MASSIVE SCALE
Along with driving the market for ivory and rhino horns, the Chinese are notorious for poaching endangered marine turtles. Which marine turtles are endangered? All of them.
Two are Critically Endangered, two are Endangered, two as Vulnerable, and one as Data Deficient. Commercial trade is illegal for all marine turtles.
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