Get To Know The Star of Nickelodeon’s New Show ‘Santiago of the Seas’ Kevin Chacon! – Just Jared Jr.

Kevin Chacon has an exciting new role!

The teen actor is starring as the voice of Santiago in the brand new Nickelodeon series Santiago of the Seas, premieres TODAY (October 9) on Nick Jr.

Heres a synopsis: Infused with a Spanish-language and Latino-Caribbean culture curriculum, the action-adventure series follows eight-year-old Santiago Santi Montes, a brave and kind-hearted pirate, as he embarks on daring rescues, searches for treasures and keeps the high seas safe in a fantastical Caribbean world.

I couldnt believe I received the role for Santiago. I felt blessed and gratefully accepted, Kevin told JJJ. It means a lot [to be a part of this show]. I never would have imagined myself this far in my career.

Santiago and I have many similar traits, like our kindness and our energy, he added.

To celebrate the premiere of his new show, Santiago of the Seas, JJJ got to know the star with 10 Fun Facts!

Santiago of the Seas Sneak Peek!

Click inside to learn 10 Fun Facts about Kevin Chacon

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Get To Know The Star of Nickelodeon's New Show 'Santiago of the Seas' Kevin Chacon! - Just Jared Jr.

The Need for a Network of Marine Protected Areas in the Southern Ocean – The Pew Charitable Trusts


The Southern Ocean is one of the least-altered marine ecosystems on Earth. Encompassing 10% of the worlds ocean, this region surrounding Antarctica is home to thousands of species found nowhere else, from colossal squid and fish with antifreeze proteins in their blood, to bioluminescent worms and brilliantly hued starfish. It is also home to millions of predators, including penguins, seals, and whales that depend on large swarms of Antarctic krill, small crustaceans that form the base of a delicate food web. These waters are vital to the health of the planet, producing strong upwelling currents that carry critical nutrients north of the equator and, in concert with the rest of the ocean, play a role in regulating the climate.

Climate change and industrial fishing are fundamentally altering this unique region. Species highly evolved to the extreme environment are threatened as changing ocean and atmospheric conditions alter their habitat and disrupt the functions of the marine ecosystem. These impacts are compounded by fishing, which in the case of krill is increasingly concentrated in smaller areas, posing a threat to the animals that rely on this keystone speciesand to the biodiversity of the region.

To protect this spectacular region, The Pew Charitable Trusts and its partners are working with the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and its member governments to encourage the adoption of ecosystem-based fisheries management practices and the establishment of a network of largescale marine protected areas (MPAs) around Antarctica.

Marine protections in the Antarctic Peninsula would benefit the biodiversity of the region and its animals, such as this leopard seal, which is chasing a gentoo penguin. Paul Souders

Governments established CCAMLR in 1982 in response to the growing fleet of vessels around Antarctica that were catching krill, which are used to make omega-3 supplements, aquaculture feed, and as fishing bait. While prioritizing conservationparticularly when the best available science is limited or unclearCCAMLR allows limited fishing in some areas in accordance with its ecosystem-based management approach. The Antarctic krill fishery is now CCAMLRs largest. The international body, made up of 25 countries and the European Union, also oversees fisheries for Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni) and Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides), marketed as Chilean sea bass, that are spread around the continent.

Table 1

Source: The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, Fishery Reports (2018), https://www.ccamlr.org/en/publications/fishery-reports

Southern Ocean biodiversity is much more than just penguins; it also includes this giant feather star on the seafloor under the ice in East Antarctica. Laurent Ballesta Andromde Oceanology

The health of the Southern Ocean is driven by changes to the ocean itselfsuch as acidification1 and changes in sea-ice concentration and duration2and shifts on land that affect marine species, such as heat waves and extreme weather. These waters account for much of this centurys heat gain in the oceans upper water column, and warming is also occurring in the regions deep ocean.3 In response to these impacts, the threat of new and invasive species in the Southern Ocean is growing,4 while endemic marine species have experienced historic dieoffs5 and are shifting their ranges.6

Studies show that MPAs can help vulnerable ecosystems build resilience to climate change by eliminating additional stresses such as fishing.7 Having greater resilience means that ecosystems can better resist and recover from shocks associated with changing ocean conditions, responding to these disturbances while maintaining viable functions. Networks of MPAs also help species adapt to climate change, or the ability to evolve or change behaviors in relation to shifts in habitat conditions, by creating protected pathways for species migrations and range shifts.8 In addition, their relatively undisturbed waters provide a natural laboratory for studying how intact marine ecosystems react to a warming and acidifying ocean.

Marine protections in the Antarctic Peninsula would ensure enough krill was left for all the species that depend on it: seals, penguins, and whales, such as humpbacks that migrate to the Southern Ocean to feed. Michael Nolan

CCAMLRs primary mission is to protect the Southern Oceans diverse marine life. In 2002, CCAMLR became the first international body to commit to creating a network of MPAs, following recommendations from the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development. Nine years later, its member governments agreed to Conservation Measure 91-04,9 a framework for creating such a network, and identified nine planning domains for future MPAs.10 At the time, CCAMLR had already established a protected area for the South Orkney Islands southern shelf (2009), the worlds first high-seas MPA. In 2016, it created another MPAthe worlds largestin the Ross Sea region. Combined, the MPAs cover 2.2 million square kilometers. Additional proposals are under consideration for East Antarctica, the Weddell Sea, and the Antarctic Peninsula.

A network of MPAs would not only preserve connectivity among the Southern Oceans many unique ecosystems, allowing marine life to migrate between protected areas for breeding and foraging, but it would also significantly contribute to global ocean protection goals:

A huddle of young emperor penguins wait on the ice edge in East Antarctica. Laurent Ballesta Andromde Oceanology

The proposed East Antarctica marine protected area would safeguard 970,000 square kilometers of near-pristine ocean wilderness in the MacRobertson, Drygalski, and DUrville Sea-Mertz areas.17 Coastal currents, including the Prydz Bay Gyre, mingle with the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, supporting abundant marine life throughout the Southern Ocean.18 Penguins, seals, krill, and toothfish are among the many species that rely on this relatively unexplored, remote, and frigid habitat for survival.19

The proposed MPA is multiple use, with highly protected areas (toothfish no-take zones and a krill no-take zone) as well as areas for fishing in accordance with CCAMLR conservation measures. Targeted research fishing would be permitted in designated research zones within the MPA. Fishing also would be allowed to continue outside the protected area. From the 1972-73 fishing season until the 1994-95 season,20 fishing for Antarctic krill was common in the East Antarctic until all krill fishing became concentrated in the Antarctic Peninsula region. Commercial fishing is limited in the region now, with a small amount of fishing for Antarctic krill, as well as Patagonian and Antarctic toothfish. Establishing an East Antarctic MPA would safeguard critical habitat for its unique biodiversity.

Antarctic Peninsula waters are home to abundant marine life: orcas and humpback whales, fur and crabeater seals, as well as the approximately 1.5 million pairs of Adlie, chinstrap, and gentoo penguins that nest and forage here.23 The fishery for Antarctic krill focuses its operations in this area, overlapping with predators that rely on swarms of krill as a primary food source.24 As temperatures continue to rise, sea icehabitat for penguins, seals, and other speciesis shrinking.25 Krill also rely on sea ice for breeding, and juveniles feed off dense seasonal algae that grow beneath it. Research shows that cumulative stresses of climate change and concentrated fishing are already having negative impacts on the regions food web.26

The Antarctic Peninsula (Domain 1) Marine Protected Area proposal includes a General Protection Zone27 that covers two biologically rich areasthe Bransfield and Gerlache Straitsand would prohibit krill fishing in the coastal foraging ranges of Antarctic predators. It also protects a part of the Bellingshausen Sea that is an important spawning and nursery area for krill, and other ecologically significant areas for commercially valuable fish species. The Krill Fishing Zone would allow for commercial krill fishing for member nations, managed under CCAMLRs conservation measures. CCAMLR is working to advance ecosystem-based fisheries management to ensure the long-term survival of the fishery and protect the numerous species that depend on Antarctic krill.

CCAMLR is considering a proposal to create a marine reserve in the Weddell Sea covering more than 2.2 million square kilometers.30 This span of the Southern Ocean is a remote, ice-covered coastal sea with a unique habitat known for its outstanding biodiversity, including Antarctic petrels, emperor and Adlie penguins, and multiple species of seals and whales.31 Far below the sea ice, the nutrient-rich seafloor (benthic) ecosystems form key habitat for an array of creatures found nowhere else on Earth, such as glass sponges and cold-water corals.32

The proposed Weddell Sea MPA contains three zones. The General Protection Zone would be closed to commercial fishing to maintain the health of this ecosystem, protect biodiversity, boost climate resilience, as well as support research and monitoring to improve understanding of the climate and human impacts on Antarctic ecosystems. The Fisheries Research Zone allows for clearly defined research activities, aimed at informing the science-based management of the regions Antarctic toothfish stock. This includes a better understanding of population structure and life history, biological parameters, and ecology. Part of this zone will remain unfished and will serve as a scientific reference area for analyzing the wider ecosystem effects of fishing. The Special Protection Zone prohibits all fishing in order to protect multiple nesting sites for bottom-dwelling fish and unique, rare, or endemic habitats, especially in the shelf area where rich sponge communities exist. This zone also allows scientists the opportunity to monitor the impacts of natural variability and long-term changes on Antarctic marine living resources.

A Weddell seal pup plays hide and seek beneath the East Antarctic ice sheet. These seals can be found in the three current MPA proposals in the Southern Ocean. Laurent Ballesta Andromde Oceanology

CCAMLR MPA Planning Domain 9 (Bellingshausen and Amundsen Seas) is the only area in the Southern Ocean that does not have an MPA designated or proposed within its boundaries. Additionally, the regions between the national MPAs in Domains 4, 5, and 6 can be further protected by a CCAMLR MPA that increases connectivity between these critical habitats.

To create a true network of MPAs and deliver the scientifically supported conservation and resilience benefits of an MPA network, CCAMLR member nations should develop MPA proposals within these regions. Collaboration between CCAMLR member nations, stakeholders, scientists, and industry to identify areas of ecological importance within these domains will help CCAMLR meet its goal of creating a robust network of MPAs in the Southern Ocean.

Creating a network of MPAs in the Southern Ocean would exemplify global cooperation in the face of increasing environmental challenges. After establishing the worlds only high seas MPAs in the South Orkney Islands southern shelf and the Ross Sea, CCAMLR can achieve this goal by also designating MPAs in the Weddell Sea, East Antarctic, and Antarctic Peninsula (Domain 1) and developing additional protections for the Domain 9 and sub-Antarctic regions.

An ice octopus skims the seafloor life in East Antarctica, searching for food. Laurent Ballesta Andromde Oceanology

Krill form the base of the Southern Ocean food web. Education Images

A minke whale, one of many species that feed on krill in Antarctic waters, is about to breach the surface. ekvals

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The Need for a Network of Marine Protected Areas in the Southern Ocean - The Pew Charitable Trusts

Graham Elders grand adventures led to the publication of a novella – SooToday

"A Covid Odyssey" is a medical thriller and a heros journey about love and resilience in a world ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic

At seventeen, Dr. Graham Elder joined the Naval Reserves for many exhilarating adventures on the high seas.

His time in the Reserves afforded him a steady income to pay for his lengthy education.

As a student of McGill University for thirteen years, in his hometown of Montreal, he completed degrees in Physiotherapy, Medicine and Orthopaedic Surgery.

In early 2000, Elder was considering where his future might lead him.

A fateful decision to attend a career day event changed the course of his life.

The working climate for docs at that time was quite poor in Quebec and based on disincentives, says Elder.

The career event he attended was billed as a way to find work outside of the province.

It was there that he ran into a general surgeon who was in the class ahead of him at McGill University who had relocated to Sault Ste. Marie the previous year.

He said, come check it out, its got everything you love, says Elder.

My wife, Andrea, and I came for a recruitment tour and a few months later, we loaded up the trucks, two [young] kids, two dogs and moved to Beverly.

Although Elder jokingly references the motley Clampett family who moved to the big city after striking oil in their rural farm, the orthopedic surgeon and his family did the opposite, moving from a larger centre to a place rich in the great outdoors.

From a family perspective, they had no other connections to the Sault.

We had planned to stay a few years and then move on but, if you like the great outdoors and wonderful people, why would anyone leave such a marvellous city, he says.

Outside of work and making the most of the Saults natural surroundings, the orthopedic surgeon often found himself weaving bedtime tales and stories for his children.

Andrea pointed it out when the kids were younger. I would carry storylines through from night to night at bedtime. Apparently, my kids were quite convinced that my wife and I were of magically descended royalty, he laughs.

Having a few antique swords around the house for effect can be quite useful.

A decade ago, Elder turned one particular set of bedtime stories based on a character called Geekboy and his journey through the earths core into a trilogy that he self-published for his children as a Christmas gift.

That would be my first writing effort.

From that self-publishing experience, Elder caught the writing bug and decided to expand beyond stories for his children.

Being schooled in the French language up until his time at university, Elder realized that he could likely benefit from some writing assistance if he wanted to produce quality writing in English.

In 2015, Elder joined forces with his long-time medical school friend Laura Cody and launched a website [TwoDocsWriting.com], the name suggested by his wife.

Laura and I met on day one of medical school in 1991, he says.

I believe a great many friendships in life are based on the natural order of the alphabet.

Codys maiden name is Downs. Downs starts with D and Elder with E.

I caught the writing bug hard about 5 years ago when I turned 50. I was looking to open up my creative side after years of stuffing scientific facts into my brain, he says.

Laura and I had always remained the best of friends after medical school and with her pre-med degree in English literature from Notre Dame, she was the perfect match I expected her background as a forensic psychiatrist [a sub-specialty of psychiatry that is related to criminology] in New York would also add something interesting to the mix.

Fortunately for Elder, Cody also caught the writing bug around the period he did.

What was initially an obvious decision to incorporate their professional experiences and subject matter into their writing didnt happen.

It was in the beginning, but we completely ignored it. I think this came from wanting to get away from medicine and the work we were doing on a daily basis, says Elder.

The fruits of their writing partnership were published on their website.

The duo is nearing the completion of their first full-length novel, The Epsilon Project, the first in a trilogy.

The trilogy weve been working on for the past four years is dystopian, speculative fiction with some zombie-like action thrown in, he says.

Laura and I have teenage boys of the same age who were deeply immersed in The Walking Dead five years ago. We wanted to create something that would get them reading.

The writing and editing of The Epsilon Project have been a lengthy process for Elder and Cody with an expected publication in late 2021.

Elders latest publication, a new novella called A Covid Odyssey was a complete turnaround, leading him back to his roots in medicine and to a shorter writing format.

When the pandemic was declared, Elders writing partner was in the process of revising their first book in the trilogy, his hospital duties were temporarily shuttered and his wife away on business in Scotland.

Elder was left with time on his hands.

With elective surgery cancelled and my office closed, I found myself with five weeks of unexpected R & R. I had already written a blog about the [Sault Area Hospital] getting ready for the pandemic [A Hospital Goes to War] and decided to write a short fictional story for our website, he says.

Elder describes A Covid Odyssey as a medical thriller and a heros journey about love and resilience in a world ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to fun escapism, Elder addresses some of the controversial topics of the day.

I wondered what would happen if my wife became infected with COVID-19, isolated in a foreign country with unknown levels of healthcare as she was in a small town thirty minutes north of Inverness.

Elder transferred the scenario to the U.S. and let his imagination run wild

This short story became a novella [which was] too long to post on our website.

So Elder decided to self-publish it in order to gain some experience in the industry, to potentially help inform the release of he and Codys full-length novel early next year.

With COVID on the loose, there was no travel and so it made sense to start from a place I knew in order to establish some authenticity from the outset, noting he used Sault Ste. Marie as the backdrop where the story begins.

I had to do some serious online research with Google to set up the rest of the story and make it believable.

The story centers on a Northern Ontario physician trying to get to his wife who becomes deathly ill with COVID-19 while attending a conference in Florida when the international borders close.

As her health spirals downward, the physician concocts a plan to bring her an experimental anti-viral drug that might save her life.

The challenge is that he needs to find a way to cross the Ontario/Michigan border and travel 2000 km through a pandemic American landscape to get to her.

Elder says the experience of publishing the novella was an incredible learning opportunity.

The feedback and support from [Sault Area Hospital] staff [and others who have read it] has been tremendous.

Releasing the novella in June was perfectly timed.

Information was changing so fast with COVID-19, I wanted to publish a book about the first wave, during the first wave.

The seeds of a sequel are already germinating in his imagination.

Did someone whisper Second Wave?

A Covid Odyssey is available in paperback on Amazon as well as in Epub format everywhere Epub books are sold (Amazon, Kobo, Apple books, Barnes and Noble).

To read more about Elders writing, visit TwoDocsWriting.com.

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Graham Elders grand adventures led to the publication of a novella - SooToday

Japan seeks to boost catch limits of prized bluefin tuna – Thehour.com

Elaine Kurtenbach, Ap Business Writer

Japan seeks to boost catch limits of prized bluefin tuna

MITO, Japan (AP) Japan has proposed raising its catch quotas for Pacific bluefin tuna, a fish so highly prized for sushi and sashimi that its population is at less than 5% of historical levels.

An online meeting of countries that manage the Pacific bluefin that began Tuesday is studying the proposal to raise Japan's catch limits for both smaller and larger bluefin tuna by 20%.

A slight improvement in the spawning population for the fish has raised confidence that it can recover from decades of overfishing. But conservation experts say increasing catch limits too soon could undo progress toward restoring the species.

Increasing harvests of such fish could also drive prices lower, making the industry less profitable in the long run, the Pew Charitable Trusts said in a report issued Tuesday.

The report, Netting Billions 2020: A Global Tuna Valuation, put the market value of seven tuna species including bluefin at $40.8 billion in 2018. Despite increased catches, that was a decrease from $41.6 billion in 2012.

Just because increasing catch is sustainable does not mean it is always the right thing to do," said Grantly Galland, an officer in Pew's international fisheries team.

Prices for most species of tuna have fallen due to oversupply of caught fish, he said.

The meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission and the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission includes more than two dozen countries that collaborate to manage fisheries on the high seas and curb illegal and unauthorized fishing and other activities that endanger highly migratory species such as the Pacific bluefin.

The countries participating in management of the Pacific bluefin committed in 2017 to reducing their catches to help return the species to 20% of its historic size by 2034.

Japan plays a critical role in the survival of the species not just because of its huge appetite for the fish. The Pacific bluefin spawns almost entirely in seas near Japan and Korea. Japanese fishermen also capture small tuna to be farmed to maturity, although the number of traditional artisanal fishermen has fallen in recent years as younger Japanese choose not to engage in such dangerous and difficult work.

The latest data show the spawning stock biomass of the Pacific bluefin, an indicator of the fishs ability to reproduce at a sustainable level, rising to about 28,000 metric tons in 2018 from 10,837 metric tons in 2010.

That is still less than half the estimate for 1995 of a spawning stock biomass of 62,784 metric tons. It puts the species at about 4.5% of the baseline level it would be at if there were no fishing at all, up from 4% several years ago.

Demand for bluefin tuna is such that any progress draws pressure for bigger catches. Last week, the Marine Stewardship Council granted certification for a Japanese fishery's Atlantic bluefin, over conservationists' objections that such a move might hinder its long-term recovery.

In 2019, Japan reported a catch of 3,757 tons of smaller tuna and 5,132 of larger tuna, according to documents prepared for the online meeting. To comply with its limits, it transferred 250 tons of its catch quota for smaller Pacific bluefin to its limit for the larger ones, according to documents prepared for this week's online conference.

The proposal to raise its catch limits would enable Japanese fisheries to catch 801 more tons of smaller fish, which weigh less than 30 kilograms, per year and 976 more tons of larger ones.

A similar proposal was rejected last year.

A key issue is the unpredictability of each year's rate of recruitment," or reproduction for bluefin, among other factors. For this reason many experts favor a shift toward a more systematic method of managing fish catches that would use complex computer modeling to target specific objectives.

Pew and other conservation groups are promoting this approach, which has been adopted for managing southern bluefin tuna, another threatened species.

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Japan seeks to boost catch limits of prized bluefin tuna - Thehour.com

SECDEF Esper Calls for 500-Ship Fleet by 2045, With 3 SSNs a Year and Light Carriers Supplementing CVNs – USNI News

The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group transits in formation with the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group while conducting dual carrier and airwing operations in the Philippine Sea on June 23, 2020. US Navy Photo

This post has been updated to include additional information from Secretary Espers rollout of Battle Force 2045.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced a new future fleet plan for the Navy that would grow the attack submarine force, supplement nuclear-powered aircraft carriers with light carriers to achieve greater day-to-day presence, and invest heavily in small and unmanned ships for distributed operations.

Espers Battle Force 2045, which he rolled out during an online event today at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, lays out plans for achieving a fleet of 500 manned and unmanned ships by 2045, and a fleet of 355 traditional battle force ships by 2035 all in a resource-constrained budget environment.

First, he said, the fleet would have a larger and more capable attack submarine fleet of 70 to 80 SSNs.

If we do nothing else, the Navy must begin building three Virginia-class submarines a year as soon as possible, he said in the event during his opening remarks. If we do nothing else, we should invest in attack submarines, he repeated later during a question-and-answer session.

Esper also called for refueling a total of seven Los Angeles-class SSNs, compared to the five or six the Navy had previously discussed, and invest heavily in the SSN(X) future submarine program.

Second, Esper stated that nuclear-powered aircraft carriers would remain the most visible deterrence on the seas, but he said a new future air wing would have to be developed to increase their range and lethality, and that light carriers would have to supplement the Nimitz- and Ford-class supercarriers to help achieve greater day-to-day presence while preserving limited CVN readiness, which has been strained recently by overuse and backups at maintenance yards. Up to six light carriers, possibly based on the America-class amphibious assault ship design, would operate both instead of and alongside the CVNs.

While we anticipate that additional study will be required to assess the proper high/low mix of carriers, eight to 11 nuclear-powered carriers will be necessary to execute a high-end conflict and maintain our global presence, with up to six light carriers joining them, Esper said in his remarks.

Virginia-class submarine Delaware (SSN-791) was moved out of a construction facility into a floating dry dock using a transfer car system in 2018. HII Photo

Third, Esper called for between 140 and 240 unmanned and optionally manned ships on the surface and under the sea, conducting missions ranging from laying mines, conducting missile strikes, resupplying manned ships, surveillance, serving as decoys and more.

They will add significant offensive and defensive capabilities to the fleet at an affordable cost in terms of both sailors and dollars, he said.Earlier this month, the Sea Hunter prototype completed operations with the USS Russell, demonstrating that unmanned surface vehicles are technologically feasible and operationally valuable.

Fourth, he called for 60 to 70 smaller combatants, such as the new frigate class under contract now, to increase capacity and free up larger ships for more complex missions.

Fifth, Esper said strategic sealift and logistics would be pivotal for distributed maritime operations, with 70 to 90 combat logistics ships required though he noted that further work would be done in this area to understand if that was enough for the naval battle, as well as to understand what else would be needed to ensure ground forces could be moved en masse to a fight by sea if called upon.

Sixth, he said, the Navy would need unmanned aircraft launching off carrier decks to cover all the missions of todays air wing: fighters, refueling, early warning and electronic attack. He alluded this recently while speaking to sailors aboard USSCarl Vinson(CVN-70),USNI News previously reported.

And lastly, he pledged his support for the Marines Force Design 2030 effort and the new classes of ships and connectors needed to accomplish this, though he added that more work would be needed in this area.

The Marine Corps is currently in the process of implementing its force structure plan, and I support the commandants vision to recalibrate to great power competition. As such, we see a need for more amphibious warfare ships than previously planned, in the 50 to 60 range, but more work needs to be done in this area as well, he said.

In sum, Esper said, this proposed future fleet will be a more balanced naval force that will have a greater number of smaller surface combatants and unmanned or optionally manned ships, along with an ample submarine force and a modern strategic deterrent. It will also be able to deliver overwhelming fires balanced across four domains: from the air, from the land, from the sea, and from under the sea. And it will align with the National Defense Strategy as we optimize force posture and implement novel concepts that make us more agile, less predictable, and fully capable of rapidly shifting to combat operations, when needed.

Achieving Battle Force 2045 over the long run will not be easy. Parochial interests, budget uncertainties, industrial capacity, and other competing factors will contest our ambitions, he added.

Esper called for Congress to act as a partner in this effort to create a future fleet that succeeds in operations below the level of conflict but can also quickly ramp up for a high-end fight. Though he offered up a greater share of the overall Pentagon budget to support the Navy in its modernization and growth, he said Congress would have to help by providing predictable and sufficient budgets, allowing the Navy and Marines to divest of legacy gear to help pay for developing and buying new systems, and passing into law spending authorities such as allowing the Navy to take any unspent money at the end of the fiscal year and reroute it to a shipbuilding piggy bank instead of watching the money expire.

Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper thanks the crew of the USS Bonhomme Richard for their efforts in battling a multi-day blaze that began July 12 on the ship, docked at Naval Base San Diego, Calif., Sept. 18, 2020. DoD photo.

As a show of good faith, Esper praised Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite for finding significant funds in the budget to help refocus to shipbuilding.Braithwaite told USNI Newsin an interview this summer that he planned to go beyond his predecessors plan to find $40 billion over five years and wanted to find even more to overhaul the fleet. Esper said that, as a result of that work, he felt comfortable giving the Navy a bigger piece of the budget pie to help achieve Reagan-era levels of shipbuilding spending.

To start, we have charted a credible path to reaching 355 ships that works within real-world budget constraints. Through its own reviews and reforms, the Navy did good work these past several months freeing up funds in the coming years for the building of new ships. The Navy must continue these initiatives; they are essential to ensuring an adequate shipbuilding account for the task ahead, Esper said.Given the serious reform efforts put forward by the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations and their commitment to continue them I agreed to provide additional funding from across the DoD enterprise, funding that was harvested from ongoing reform efforts, such as Combatant Command reviews, Fourth Estate reforms, and other initiatives. Together, these additional funding streams will increase the shipbuilding account to 13 percent within the Navys topline, matching the average percentage spent for new ships during President Reagans buildup in the 1980s.

Beyond the fiscal challenges, Esper noted two other challenges to the Navys ability to make best use of the fleet it has today and to find room in the budget to grow: over-demand for naval forces from the combatant commanders, and backlogs of maintenance work at public and private shipyards.

On maintenance, Esper said, we also recognize what has been the Navys Achilles heel: shipyard capacity and maintenance delays. We cannot build and sustain our proposed fleet without the ability to service and repair a greater number of vessels in a more timely fashion. Nor can we sacrifice shipbuilding for maintenance. The objective is to have as many ships continuously at sea as possible; to maintain a high level of readiness. We must do both. We can do both. We will continue our efforts to revitalize and expand the Navys four shipyards, while promoting partnerships with private shipyards across the country without pulling from the shipbuilding account.

On demand, Esper acknowledged that the Navy has been strained to keep up with demands for presence in U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, U.S. Central Command and U.S. European Command. He committed to helping the service get on a better path to readiness while also being able to meet the most pressing COCOM needs. Esper said the National Defense Strategy prioritizes future readiness and lethality over current operations, and as such he said the service needed to reshape the fleet to prepare for a sophisticated war against China rather than spend all its money and readiness fighting lower-end fights today. He didnt specify where the Navy may see some relief, but among the challenges the service has had in recent years is maintaining an aircraft carrier in or just outside the Persian Gulf to push back against Iran essentially asking the Navy to keep a carrier sailing back and forth in a small box to address a lower-level threat under the NDS. Esper said NDS calls for INDOPACOM to be prioritized, and other COCOM requests to be scaled down so more forces can be sent to the Pacific or sent back home to rebuild readiness. Its unclear when that will start happening for the Navy or what that will look like.

The Future Naval Force Study effort came about in January, when the Navy was supposed to finalize both an Integrated Naval Force Structure Assessment and a 30-year shipbuilding plan to release alongside the Fiscal Year 2021 budget request in early February. When those two documents reached the Office of the Secretary of Defense for approval, Esper had concerns both on the content and the cost of the plans. He sent them back to the Navy and Marine Corps for more work.

Ultimately, the Navy was not able to make the changes that Esper wanted to see, resulting in the FNFS effort that Esper delegated to his deputy, David Norquist. Esper declined to release the Navys original INFSA and long-range ship plans to Congress, noting the additional work OSD was doing to create a new plan.

Under this effort, three plans were crafted: the Navy and Marine Corps plan, a plan by the Pentagons Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) office, and one by the Hudson Institute.

Esper said during his remarks today that the FNFS was a comprehensive, cost-constrained and threat-informed assessment aligned with the National Defense Strategy. He said each of the three proposals was wargamed against a detailed study of where China is now and where its heading, so OSD could see how each proposed naval force would handle various future mission sets against a realistic high-end adversary. The plan, which USNI News understands draws from the best of all three proposals, will drive a major shift in how we design, build and sustain our fleet and conduct naval operations in the years and decades to come, Esper said.

USNI News previously reportedthat OSD in past years has taken varying levels of interest in the Navys plans before passing them along to Congress, sometimes giving closer analysis and sometimes just signing off on what the Navy pitches. But this is the first time in a long time a secretary of defense has taken the decision out of the Navys hands and created a new process by which future shipbuilding plans and therefore manning, operations and sustainment plans, too would be decided.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Sept. 25, 2019) Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper is briefed on USS Gerald R. Fords (CVN 78) advanced weapons elevators (AWE) by Capt. John J. Cummings, Fords commanding officer. Esper visited Ford to see first-hand the progress the ship is making during its post-shakedown availability and to speak directly with Ford and Navy leadership. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Zachary Melvin)

The Pentagon and the Navy have tried to couch FNFS as a collaborative effort, with a Pentagon spokesman telling USNI News that this review, the Future Naval Force Study (FNFS), is a collaborative OSD, Joint Staff and Department of the Navy (DoN) effort to assess future naval force structure options and inform future naval force structure decisions and the 30-year shipbuilding plan. Still, this is a new level of oversight from OSD, with several underlying issues contributing to Espers desire to take control of the process: budgets are expected to be flat or declining in the coming years; the Navy and Marine Corps have pitched several new classes of manned and unmanned vessels to help fight China, even while declining to make cuts elsewhere to pay for them; and maintenance and other readiness contributors have challenged the Navy to make best use of the fleet they have today, calling into question how theyd support the larger fleet proposed in internal Navy/Marine Corps INFSA plans, USNI News understands.

Despite the late release of the FNFS, its recommendations will still affect decisions for the FY 2022 budget, much of which should already be written by this time of year at the service level. Esper also promised today that, instead of waiting until February when the FY 2022 budget is due, he would this year release the FNFS results and the long-range shipbuilding plan to Congress.

Though likely to face concerns from the other services and from lawmakers over this shift in how DoD funds will be spent, Esper couched the FNFS and the resulting Battle Force 2045 plan into historical context.

Over the past several years, the Department had to recover from the crippling effects of sequestration, inadequate funding, continuing resolutions, and years of budget uncertainty. We also placed insufficient attention on the high-end fight, which many believed was behind us with the Cold Wars end, he said.The good news is that we are now on the road to recovery by first restoring the readiness of the current fleet; and second, by divesting from legacy systems and lower priorities in order to modernize the force. We are now at the point where we can and indeed, we must chart a new path to a future fleet that will maintain our naval superiority long into the future.

Today, cutting-edge technologies are fundamentally altering the character of warfare and expanding the geometry of the battlefield in multiple ways. In the maritime domain, artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, ubiquitous sensors, and long-range precision weapons will play an increasingly leading role in a future high-end fight, he continued.Whoever harnesses these technologies first will have a clear advantage on the high seas for years to come. Getting there ahead of everyone else demands a whole-of-nation effort.



SECDEF Esper Calls for 500-Ship Fleet by 2045, With 3 SSNs a Year and Light Carriers Supplementing CVNs - USNI News

10 Behind The Scenes Facts About Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest – Screen Rant

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest was an exceptionally fun movie, with a whole lot of trivia going on behind the scenes.

With the recent news that Margot Robbie would be heading a spin-off of thePirates of the Caribbean franchise for Disney, the original trilogy of films has reentered the cultural consciousness. Those movies, featuring Jack Sparrow, Elizabeth Swann, and Will Turner, are iconic stories of swashbuckling adventure on the high seas.

RELATED:The Rock's Tomorrowland & 9 More Cancelled Disney Ride Movies

The production of the films is also filled with myriad fun facts. Behind the scenes,Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, specifically, contained a large amount of fun trivia. From the special effects to the appreciated input from many creators to the actual shooting of the film itself,Dead Man's Chest was a special film in recent Hollywood blockbuster memory.

Back when the movie was being filmed, production in the islands of the Atlantic Ocean was suspended. This was before the time of the coronavirus postponing all film shoots, though.Dead Man's Chest went on pause because of Hurricane Wilma.

At the time, fearful of the storm's effects, the cast and crew evacuated to Los Angeles. Those are the dangers of shooting on location, after all.

At the time of development, the success ofPirates of the Caribbean was unexpected and the screenwriters went back to the conception stage to come up with a plan for sequels. As such, Keira Knightley's hair was not necessarily prepared to become Elizabeth again.

RELATED: Which Pirates Of The Caribbean Character Is Your Soulmate, Based On Your Zodiac?

For filmingDomino, Knightley sported a pixie hair cut, but it ended up causing some mishaps for the makeup and hair team onPirates. As such, the hair Elizabeth maintains is not quite Keira Knightley's! They're hair extensions!

WhenDead Man's Chest was originally plotted out, the composition of the Flying Dutchman was slated to be comprised of ghosts. After all, the spirits and phantoms of folklore have long been associated with the ship.

However, it was Gore Verbinski who opposed this notionand instead pushed them to be real members of the crew, if not entirely human. Instead, motion capture suits were used to scan the actors who comprised the crew and insert them into the shots on the ship. That's movie magic, baby!

Would it truly be a Johnny Depp film if Tim Burton didn't come along to aid the creative process in some capacity? When attempting to nail design the aforementioned design of the Flying Dutchman's crew, extraneous help was required.

The artistic Burton, busy with his own films at the time, still found some spare moments to design the villainous pirate crew members. It's clear that Burton's touch really helps creative concepts come to life.

One of the lasting legacies ofDead Man's Chest is the immaculate CGI creation for Davy Jones, Bill Nighy's antagonist figure. His gooey, tentacle-ridden face was a major achievement in the world of filmmaking and CGI.

RELATED:Pirates Of The Caribbean: 5 Reasons Curse Of The Black Pearl Is The Best (& 5 Reasons It's Dead Man's Chest)

It was not easy for the special effects designers to animate the tentacles of the Kraken in a realistic fashion, though. That is, until the animation director onPirates,Hal T. Hickel, tasked his team with viewing the 1962 kaiju classic,King Kong vs. Godzilla, and its specific octopus scene. Much love is due toIshir Honda.

The tentacles of a classic kaiju film are not the only influences possessed by Davy Jones' CGI manifestation and the monstrous Kraken. To achieve the desired look, color, and shading of Jones' hideous image, the animators used an unconventional reference point.

His texture was developed from the scanned image of a filthy, Styrofoam coffee cup. Sometimes, the answers to filmmaking headaches can be found where one least expects them. Like the garbage can.

For as massive and expansive as the CGI was in the secondPirates movie, not all of the film was CGI. After all, practical effects go a long way for developing the authenticity of the high-seas adventure.

In the climactic moment of the film, when Jack Sparrow comes face to face with the Kraken, the beast spits at him and blows him away with the action's force. However, this spit was not CGI. It was said to be legitimate, veritable slime that was hurled at Depp. Such is the life of an actor.

The firstPirates of the Caribbean film was shot solely in the Caribbean island of St. Vincent. However, with a bigger budget and higher expectations, Disney allowed the sequel to become an island-trotting affair.

RELATED:Pirates Of The Caribbean: 10 Times The Movies Referenced The Ride

More than St. Vincent,Dead Man's Chest also filmed in Palos Verdes, the Bahamas, and Dominica. On top of that, some sets were even constructed for the purposes of filming at Disney's own film studios! It helps the film feel massive in scope, for sure.

In addition to traveling to many islands in the Caribbean,Dead Man's Chest also possessed the unique shooting element of being filmed consecutively withAt World's End, the third installment of the franchise.

The first film was conceived, initially, as a stand-alone adventure. But when the success was undeniable, the next two sequels were conceived in tandem with one another and shot that way, as well. The technique would later be parroted byInfinity War andEndgame, too.

Combining everything learned so far aboutDead Man's Chest, from the artistic development to the shooting methodology to the occasional practical effects, it's no surprise that the wildest behind-the-scenes fact ofDead Man's Chest is the fact that two working pirate ships were constructed for the film.

No wonder the films feel so authentic and fully-realized. Full working models of the Black Pearl and the Flying Dutchman were crafted for the film's sequels in accordance with an Alabama oil tanker. It's hard to get any bigger than that.

NEXT:Behind The Scenes Facts About Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl

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David Mello is a writer, journalist, and editor from Boston, Massachusetts. He is obsessed with pop culture and sports and loves to expand his cultural knowledge of film, television, music, literature, and more. He currently writes for ScreenRant as a member of the Valnet, Inc. team. David has also written for OneClass, Moms Who Think, Up to Boston, the Boston Herald, and more. He spends just as much time watching classic movies as he does setting his fantasy football lineup.

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10 Behind The Scenes Facts About Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest - Screen Rant

Avast! Boss Audio’s new weatherproof touchscreen brings CarPlay and Android Auto to boats – The Verge

Apples CarPlay and Googles Android Auto are meant for, well, cars and automobiles, but despite the emphasis on landlubber locomotion, theres technically no reason that one couldnt use them for navigating the high seas. And thats just what Boss Audios new aftermarket MRCP9685A head unit promises: a weatherproof module that offers the ability to use CarPlay and Android Auto not just in regular cars, but in off-road vehicles like Jeeps and even boats.

Installing an aftermarket head unit into a boat isnt a new concept, but getting a weatherproof one that supports both CarPlay or Android Auto and the rigors of the seafaring life is more difficult. At least one enterprising Reddit user has already tried to jury-rig a similar implementation by installing a standard car unit, noting that CarPlay worked perfectly, but that they still had some work to do to make everything water-resistant.

But the MRCP9685A neatly dodges that issue: its designed with marine-grade weatherproofing, meaning youll be able to install it in any boat that accepts a standard double DIN head unit. In addition to support for CarPlay and Android Auto (over a standard USB cable, just like a car), the MRCP9685A also features support for Bluetooth audio, rear camera inputs for cars, and an integrated radio tuner.

Of course, being an aftermarket head unit, youll still need to install the MRCP9685A yourself (or hire a professional to do it for you). But if youve been dying for a way to use Android Nautical or BoatPlay out on the water, Boss Audios new setup seems like it could be the answer.

The MRCP9685A is available from Boss Audios website for $289.99.

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Avast! Boss Audio's new weatherproof touchscreen brings CarPlay and Android Auto to boats - The Verge

Changing dynamics in the SCS and increasing Chinese aggression – Modern Diplomacy

In a statement released by the US Department of State on September 27 highlighted that China has not kept its promise of non-militarisation of islands under its control in the South China Sea as well as its military outposts located in the region. Instead China has deployed a number of surfaces to air cruise missiles, installed radar domes, and stationed anti-ship missiles in those islands. It has developed signal intelligence capabilities, built new hangers for fighter jets, and extended existing runways which can support its maritime surveillance aircraft operations. The US Department of State has specified that the China has no maritime legal claims in South China Sea, and should desist from using military outposts to threaten neighbours. In fact, lately the role of the maritime militia and the accompanying Coast Guard ships has drawn the attention of the US navy. The US navy has made strong objections to this strategy, and the assertive activities which deter the littoral countries in conducting legitimate fishing activities in the high seas, and the development of the hydrocarbon resources in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the countries.

In the past it has been seen that China has tried to forcefully impose the three-month fishing ban in South China Sea, and has deprived the littoral countries in conducting their hydrographic surveys and other related scientific projects. In July and August there has been dangerous manoeuvres conducted between the US and Chinese navies. This was supported with surveillance sorties which have been conducted by both the major powers. In the statement, the US has affirmed that it will standby its Southeast Asian allies and partners. This statement made by the US Department of State comes after US has imposed restrictions on certain PRC state-owned enterprises and has enlisted 24 such enterprises under the sanctions list. Under this list it has been made very clear that any US enterprise or associated private enterprises would not assume by default that the permission has been granted for interacting with any of these Chinese entities for business or investment purposes.

One of the entities which have been severely affected because of its inclusion in the sanctions list is the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) which has been involved in developing more than 3200 acres of reclaimed land in the disputed features in Spratly islands. The press release which was made on the eve of imposition of sanctions has clarified that the dredging activity which has been taken by the Chinese companies have caused environmental degradation, and has done irreversible damage to the marine life in the region. It categorically stated that that US would make sure that Chinese military activities and its expansionist agenda is kept under control. In fact, this draws upon the consistent US stance with regard to the Chinese reclaimed islands since 2012, and was repeated again in July 2020 when it has stated very clearly that China cannot claim maritime zones and offshore resources across the region as these are illegitimate, and have no standing under the UNCLOS.

The US has strongly advocated that it stands for a Free and Open Indo Pacific, and would make sure that the rules-based international order is applicable in South China Sea. US has time and again stated that China has no legal claims to unilaterally impose its economic zones and its claims on the adjoining waters in the Spratly Islands.

Referring to the July 2016 PCA decision with regard to South China Sea, the US has specifically stated that China cannot claim Exclusive Economic Zone under the Scarborough reef and the Spratly Islands. It has also made strong objections to the harassment of the fishermen from Philippines, and categorically criticised Chinese activities which are detrimental to the exploitation of sea bed sources. It strongly advocated that China has no claims to the Mischief Reef and even rejected PRC claims for 12 nautical mile territorial seas for these reclaimed islands. Interestingly, US also referred to Chinese maritime sorties in the Vanguard Bank located just short of Vietnams EEZ, and took strong note of the fact that China has been undertaking certain activities which amount to harassment of other states fishing vessels and hydrocarbon exploration ships.

Subsequently, there has been strong rejoinder and support with regard to Malaysias submission on the expanse of continental shelf in the South China Sea which has been ably supported by other ASEAN members including Vietnam, Philippines, Brunei, and Indonesia. Brunei which has been slightly selective in airing its response to the developments in the South China Sea, has also made tacit reference to the increasing militarisation of the disputed seas. Indonesia, which has not been the direct claimant to this SCS islands dispute, has also mentioned that Chinese Coast Guard ships which accompany Chinese fishermen militia have been harassing Indonesian fishermen in the waters of the Natuna islands. Multiple times it has been seen that Indonesian navy had to intervene and drive away the Chinese coast guard ships to protect the fishing zone which lies within its maritime sovereign borders.

Since August 2020 it has been witnessed that China has been firing missiles into the disputed waterways and has tried to intimidate military exercises conducted by other nations including the US. Further, with the excessive fishing done by the Chinese trawlers it has been observed that the fishing stocks in the South China Sea have depleted significantly, raising tensions among the littoral countries. China has been providing nearly USD $7.2 billion of subsidies to its fishermen so that they can sustain longer in the South China Sea and catch higher yield per boat. One of the strategies that the Chinese fishermen adopt Is that they a change the flags of their boats so as to fish even within the legitimate EEZ of other countries.

Despite knowing very well that increased military actions in South China Sea might lead to military flare up between US and China, China has been conducting military drills in theBohaiand Yellow seas, particularly aimed at mobilising its North Sea fleet alongside with South Sea fleet. PLN has been simulating exercises so as to mobilise large forces in case of intervention in Taiwan or threatening US aircraft carrier groups in South China Sea. China has been mobilising its fighter jets and conducting surveillance sorties between Philippines and Taiwan to know the response time of the Taiwanese Air Force, and thwart any possible intervention by the US navy or air force at time of crisis.

The exercises across East China Sea and South China Sea have disturbed regional peace and security in the two regions. On August 28, China even used its carrier killer missiles in South China Sea as an act of warning to the United States Navy. US surveillance plane has allegedly violated the Chinese airspace and it was cited as a reason for conducting these threatening missile launches.

Early this month Vietnam has made categorically statement that the military drills conducted by China will severely impede the discussions and negotiations related to the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, and also continued military drills would hamper the development of a maritime code in the SCS. Vietnam being the Chairperson of the ASEAN has been taking due cognizance of the developments, and has repeatedly warned that these kinds of escalation would make things difficult in the region. As a result of these recent developments, the US military has deployed 120 aircraft and more than 12,000 troops for enforcing its presence in the region. These military activities are likely to impede any kind of negotiation process or de-escalation of tensions which might impact the post-Covid economic recovery.


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Changing dynamics in the SCS and increasing Chinese aggression - Modern Diplomacy

Africa: Continent Urged to Protect Sea Life – The Streetjournal

African countries that are part of the Abidjan Convention have been urged to participate and play a meaningful role in the United Nations ongoing negotiations aimed at establishing a legally binding instrument to conserve and sustainably use areas of marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdictions.

The call was made at a two-day African region workshop on Marine Biodiversity in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) at Cape Town, South Africa, recently.

The workshop, which was funded by the Strong High Seas project, was attended by representatives from 12 African countries.

One of the key recommendations made at the workshop was that African states have the potential to contribute meaningfully and effectively to the UN negotiations aimed at establishing the treaty, particularly if they are supported by the African Union (AU).

It was also recommended that a formal and organised process for national representatives to participate in the BBNJ Working Group for the Abidjan Convention should take place to ensure adequate benefits from the Strong High Seas project are transferred to the working group.

According to the workshop report, a broad understanding of the issues related to the BBNJ were shared with the group, as well as the structure of the draft treaty and how Africa can play a meaningful role in the negotiations.

Adanan Awad, director of the International Ocean Institute for the African Region, enlightened participants on the ecological connectivity of national waters and seas in areas beyond national jurisdictions.

He said while the worlds understanding of the areas beyond national jurisdictions has increased we still have to learn more about how activities will impact the functioning of ecosystems and how global climate is impacting ocean health.

He outlined the regulatory framework, stressing that it is often fragmentary with gaps and limited cooperation among different bodies of governance.

Caroline Hazin from Birdlife International said negotiations around the new treaty aim to fill those gaps.

She also discussed how regional seas frameworks may play a role in the governance of these areas.

Hazin said the instrument is looking at how this multi-level governance architecture can be improved and how to develop a more harmonised and effective way of managing the areas.

The workshop also observed progress of the draft UN treaty text after the third round of negotiations, as well as the history of meetings that have led to the development of the key elements being negotiated.

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These elements include marine genetic resources and area-based management tools.

Thembile Joying from South Africas Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco), who has been directly involved in the negotiations in New York for several years representing the African Group, said Africa promotes the principle of common heritage of mankind related to marine genetic resources and identifies this gap in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The African Group hopes the implementing agreement will close that gap. Joying said there needs to be a legal basis and mechanism to share the benefits while capacity building is also a key issue. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), nearly two-thirds of the ocean lies outside any countrys national jurisdiction or control, and is home to unique marine species and ecosystems.

The degradation of biodiversity in these areas affects the oceans capacity to provide resources necessary for human survival. At the conference, the executive secretary of the Abidjan Convention, Abou Bamba, said African countries can benefit from marine biodiversity located outside their areas of jurisdiction, and it is important that the continent participates meaningfully in these negotiations.

We need to be part of the process as the continent can benefit in terms of research and understanding the oceans and seas better, said Bamba.

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Africa: Continent Urged to Protect Sea Life - The Streetjournal

Kevin Chacon Talks Santiago Of The Seas Exclusive Interview – BSCkids

Kevin Chacon Talks Santiago Of The Seas Exclusive Interview

We have been following Santiago Of The Seas on Nickelodeon for some time now and now that the show will be premiering Friday, October 9th, Nick Jr. we were lucky enough to get Kevin Chacon who voices the lead Santiago Montes to talk about the show and his career with us.

Kevin Chacon is the voice of Santiago Santi Montes, a brave and kind-hearted, 8-year-old pirate who sets sail on amazing adventures, searches for hidden treasure, always stands by his best mates and keeps the high seas safe from villains as the pirate protector of Isla Encanto.

BSCKids: This show has been on our radar for a while, tell us a bit about how you got the role of Santiago? What did you know about the show before heading into the interview?

Kevin Chacon: I auditioned in New York and after that audition I had about three more, which led to them choosing me for the role of Santiago. I knew that it was going to be a new show on Nick Jr. about pirates.

Do you find it harder to do voice acting or being in front of the camera? Is there anything special that you do before you do your work on Santiago of the Seas in the recording booth?

I think being in front of the camera is harder because its not only more nerve-racking, but one wrong move and youll have to redo the whole scene. The same goes with voice acting with one little noise, but its less nerve-racking to voice act. I normally warm up my voice before I go into the recording booth.

What does a regular day working on Santiago of the Seas look like? What is been the funniest or most entertaining thing that has happened behind the scenes of the show?

I travel to New York from Connecticut, arrive at the studio, get in the booth and start recording. I record for a couple hours and then head back home its a long day. The funniest and most entertaining thing that has happened behind the scenes was when my voice coach and I created a little band called Slit Shrimp, and we just rhymed a bunch of lines together. It was so much fun.

What would you say you have learned while working on this series?

I have learned more about the Caribbean Hispanic culture along with some new Spanish words.

How did you feel after receiving your Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA) and Association of Critics of Entertainment (ACE) Awards for Emerging Artist of the Year.

I felt blessed and grateful because I was able to see all the progress Ive made throughout these years.

What would you say your favorite Nickelodeon show of all time is? (besides your own show of course) and if you could guest star on another Nick show that is currently running which one would it be and why?

My favorite Nickelodeon show of all time is Drake and Josh. If I could guest star on any Nick show that is currently running, it would be Danger Force or All That because I love action and comedy.

What is something that people would be surprised to learn about you?

I surprisingly draw well.

Have you been to the Caribbean? Did you know about pirates before the show?

Yes, I have been to the Caribbean. I knew about pirates before the show but only about the bad ones, not the good ones.

Tell us in a few words why every kid should be tuning in to watch Santiago of the Seas.

Every kid should tune into Santiago of the Seas because it will show you more about our Hispanic culture, teach you kindness and take you on many adventures.

Special thanks to Kevin Chacon and you can watch a trailer for Santiago of the Seas below.

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Kevin Chacon Talks Santiago Of The Seas Exclusive Interview - BSCkids

COVID-19 Leaves Fisheries Observers in the Dark – The Maritime Executive

Fishery observers monitoring the transfer of catch in 2019. COVID restrictions have since prevented many observers from doing their jobs (Image Tommy Trenchard / Greenpeace)

By China Dialogue Ocean 10-04-2020 07:12:35

[By Todd Woody]

The COVID-19 pandemic does not appear to have hindered the distant-water fleets of China and other major fishing nations, but it has largely sidelined the fishery observers and port officials who monitor illegal fishing.

In most of the South Pacific, fishery inspectors cannot come onboard the vessel to do inspections before authorising the transfer of catch, known as transshipment, says Francisco Blaha, a New Zealand-based fisheries adviser.

The presence of independent observers on trawlers is a frontline deterrent to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. A 2016 study found that a third of the worlds fish catch is not reported.

The absence of observers will bring a level of uncertainly on reporting catch, adds Blaha. The biggest issue we have in the South Pacific is misreporting and underreporting by the licensed fleet.

This absence comes as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) resumes negotiations in Geneva this month in the latest attempt to reach a consensus on a long-delayed agreement to eliminate harmful subsidies. These promote the IUU and over-fishing that is decimating global fish stocks.

The 600 onboard observers in the South Pacific, who monitor the regions multibillion-dollar tuna fishery dominated by China, have remained onshore since April. Thats when the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission ordered them to return to their home ports as the pandemic spread. Observers are currently not due to return to work until November.

We dont know what is happening aboard fishing vessels, notes Blaha.

Normally, vessels in the South Pacific that are purse seining are required to come to port to transfer their catch and undergo inspection. But due to the pandemic, some South Pacific island nations are barring vessels from entering their lagoons or prohibiting port officials from boarding ships until crews have quarantined for two weeks.

What is purse seining?

Fishing with a purse seine a large, vertically floating net that surrounds shoals. Once the fish are in the net, the base is drawn together, creating a purse. Purse seining carries a particular risk of trapping vulnerable species as bycatch.For instance, with the imposition of strict controls at the regions busiest port in the Marshall Islands, fishing vessels are now transshipping their cargo elsewhere. Many of them have moved to Kiribati, where theyre allowed to transship in the outside lagoon without formal controls, says Blaha.

China operates the worlds largest distant-water fleet and its vessels account for 29% of purse seiners and 70% of long-liners operating in the South Pacific, according to Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission records.

Blaha says that long-liners fishing within a nations territorial waters must come to port to unload catch and be inspected. However, he says that even in pre-pandemic times there were few observers aboard those ships and none on vessels that fish on the high seas beyond national jurisdiction.

Observers left in the dark

The lack of observers on purse seiners means its unknown if fishing vessels are complying with regulations that prohibit the use of fish aggregation devices (FADs) during certain times of the year. FADs attract tuna, making them easy to catch, but also result in the inadvertent killing of non-targeted species. For tuna to be sold as sustainable, it must not be caught with FADs. But without observers onboard there has been no independent certification of compliance during the pandemic.

The absence of onboard observers has also eliminated a deterrent against illegal but lucrative shark fishing.

Tang Yi, dean of the College of Marine Culture and Law at Shanghai Ocean University, says the Chinese government has imposed a variety of COVID-related measures on the countrys distant-water fleet. Captains must make daily reports on crew members health and take action to reduce potential risk of being infected in offshore supply activities, transshipment and temporary landing in foreign ports.

But for distant-water fishing fleet, there is no information showing that their fishing activities were seriously affected, he added.

Chinas Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs issued a March 29 bulletin about the pandemics impact on fishing. With the improvement of the domestic situation in the prevention and control of the epidemic, ocean-going fishery companies have resumed work and production, it stated. Recently, ocean-going fishing boats have set off in large numbers for production in ocean-going fishing grounds, and signs of illegal production have begun to appear.

The bulletin also directed captains of boats operating within another countrys territorial waters to abide by local regulations and allow law enforcement to board for inspections.

Tang said China apparently is not barring fishery observers from its fleet, noting his university currently has observers onboard vessels fishing for jellyfish.

But whether observers are onboard distant-water vessels depends on where fleets operate.

The west coast of Africa has been a hotbed of illegal fishing. While individual countries can mandate the use of observers, there is not a regional programme like that found in the South Pacific. To compensate for the lack of first-hand data, groups like Stop Illegal Fishing rely on satellite tracking and information-sharing among African nations to combat illicit activity.

We have seen increased activity of Chinese-flagged/operated vessels recently particularly in Kenya and Somalia, says Sally Frankcom, communications officer for Stop Illegal Fishing.

In recent years, conservation group Sea Shepherd has dispatched its ships to west Africa to conduct joint patrols with national governments to deter illegal fishing. Sea Shepherd vessels are currently patrolling off Liberia and Gabon.

Theres been a reduced presence of overseas trawlers in some places and domestic trawlers arent going out, says Captain Peter Hammarstedt of Sea Shepherd. Usually theres a big European presence in Gabon.

The pandemic doesnt appear to have affected fishing on the high seas. Industrial trawlers can spend months or even years in the remote ocean thanks to refrigerated carrier vessels that rendezvous with them to offload catch and resupply fishing vessels with crew and provisions.

Global Fishing Watchs new transshipment portal tracks encounters between tuna fishing vessels and carrier ships. Between February 1 and May 31, there were 2,679 likely transshipments for all vessels compared to 2,310 encounters for the same period in 2019. Between China-flagged ships, there were 127 likely transshipments in that 2020 period compared to 54 in 2019.

WTO efforts to end harmful subsidies

COVID-19 adds new urgency to a nearly 20-year effort by the WTO to ban subsidies that promote IUU and overfishing. While the pandemic interrupted negotiations, talks that began in September are scheduled to continue with the goal of reaching agreement by years end.

China has the most at stake because it operates the worlds largest fleet, catches the most fish and issues the most fuel subsidies that allow its trawlers to travel to faraway fishing grounds.

A 2018 study found that without US$4.2 billion in subsidies, more than half of high seas fishing would not be commercially feasible. China alone was responsible for 21 percent of high seas fishing in 2014 and nearly 19 percent of global fish catch averaged between 2014 and 2016.

Achieving an agreement on eliminating harmful subsidies requires the unanimous approval of the WTOs 164 member states.

Still, one close observer of the negotiations, Isabel Jarrett, manager of the Pew Charitable Trusts programme to reduce harmful fishing subsidies, says she remains optimistic that the WTO will reach consensus on rules, called disciplines," for harmful fishing subsidies.

Theres consensus building around the disciplines for IUU fishing, says Jarrett.

However, many significant details remain to be decided. For instance, who determines that a vessel or operator has engaged in illegal fishing a member state, a port state, or the ships flag state? Then, what punishment should be imposed, such as withholding fuel subsidies, and for how long? And should sanctions be levied against an individual vessel or the operators entire fleet?

Perhaps one of the biggest obstacles to an accord is determining what special and differential treatment will be applied to developing countries. Member countries are allowed to determine their status and the two biggest subsidizers of fishing, China and South Korea, have designated themselves as developing countries, according to Jarrett.

While China has been supportive of reaching an agreement, they have been quite quiet in negotiations, she says.

Adding to the pressure to reach an agreement is United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14.6, which requires by 2020 the elimination of subsidies that contribute to IUU fishing and overfishing.

This is one area where governments can really make progress and land a huge conservation win by the end of the year, says Jarrett.

Todd Woody is a California-based environmental journalist who specializes in ocean issues.

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.

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COVID-19 Leaves Fisheries Observers in the Dark - The Maritime Executive

Most of My Friendships Were Toxic, But Now Im So Lonely! – The Cut

The Cuts advice columnist Heather Havrilesky answers readers questions about how to be in the world. Got a question for Polly? Email askpolly@nymag.com.

Photo: Tim M Lanthier/Getty Images

Dear Polly,

I always feared not having enough friends, as I never had any friends as a child and was badly bullied. It got better during my adolescence and I was many peoples best friend up until a year ago, which now that Im in my 30s sounds a bit ridiculous.

I started therapy two years ago and Ive been doing so much better. I realize now that most of my friendships were very toxic, and my best friend of 20 years was a sociopath. My fianc, friends, and family had warned me, but it only became obvious to me a few months into therapy (and his lying and stealing got completely out of control). When I told him I had been hurt by what he did and needed space, he didnt apologize or even ask questions. He simply disappeared after 20 years of being in touch every single day. I havent seen him since, even though he lived a few blocks away from me. It was hard to swallow initially, but I felt much better as the months went by, and I never once regretted it.

But now I feel like I cant unsee many toxic tendencies in other people. I lost a close friend because I felt my happiness always seemed to be hindering hers and I always felt bad after seeing her, even on my happiest days. When I told her this as kindly as I could, she didnt take it well and she hasnt wanted to speak to me since.

Another one of my closest friends is mentally ill and a drug addict. For years I have offered him my couch when he was homeless. I was always there for him when no one else was. We normally speak every day but when hes on a bender, I dont hear from him for weeks and I often dont even know if hes alive or dead. I have seen him in police stations and psychiatric hospitals way too many times. He has never once told me he wanted to get treatment or to get sober. He obviously has many wonderful qualities and is a great friend when he is stable. Weve been friends for 15 years and he only has been acting this way in the past couple of years. I would miss him terribly if I decided to break this friendship up, but I cannot handle that state of constant anxiety anymore.

Another close friend is my business partner. We work well together but Ive been feeling so suffocated by him on a personal level for almost a year. Hes very depressed and I have become his sole confidante during the pandemic and I just dont feel strong enough to carry all that weight. Seeing his name pop up on my phone makes me feel so anxious, which makes it very hard to work together. I dont even know how to explain that to him, as it would make him even more depressed.

Other friendships are breaking down, too. I have a couple of friends left in the city I live in, but many are moving abroad or arent everyday kinds of friendships.

It isnt a coincidence that these bad friendships all started years ago when I was very lost and vulnerable. On top of that, I was supposed to get married this past June but had to postpone because of the pandemic. Theres nothing like a wedding to make you reevaluate your friendships. The guest list I have in my head now looks nothing like the initial one. It makes me realize that I have very few friends left. I always prided myself on having such close, strong friendships (even if they were toxic) and now I feel so lonely.

I believe Ive done the right thing by walking away, but I also feel so sad because I cant re-create the intimacy of a 20-year friendship. I have a great fianc, who has great friends of his own whom I like and we see a lot, but its not the same. I miss having lots of friends to talk to every day. I miss having friends who know me by heart, and at the same time, I know I couldnt keep these relationships going. What do I do with the remaining dwindling friendships? How do I cope with the loss? How can I make new friends during a pandemic?

Happy But Lonely

Dear HBL,

What youre describing isnt just a lack of healthy friendships. Its a lack of agency. You dont know how to say no to people. As a result, every single relationship youve ever had has become overwhelming, because you feel you have so few choices along the way. Youre a cork on the high seas of your friends experiences and moods.

You believed for years that your job was to serve your friends at any cost: tolerate stealing, show up at the police station, listen to digressive complaints in the middle of a work meeting. If a friend wants something, you often feel guilty if you cant give it to them. Youre always focused on whether or not youre letting them down. Because youre not in touch with your own needs and dont feel right asking for what you want, you let your friends behave badly for a long time before you assert any boundaries. And once you do finally say something, its likely to come out all wrong, with a tone and force that feels off-putting to friends who always assumed you were fine with everything, since thats how you acted.

I understand because I also used to wait way too long to speak up. Often, even if youre calm and compassionate and set clear boundaries when you finally say something, your friend will recoil at the thought of you privately disliking their behavior for so long. Thats what happened with your friend who was lying and stealing. When you confronted him directly and told him his behavior needed to change, he took off. Thats how people who cant tolerate conflict or intimacy behave. You show up, they disappear.

Many people have very little capacity for intimacy. I dont want to call that toxic because its so common. What youre describing are avoidant friends who are looking for an escape from their overwhelming emotions. But youre also an avoidant or you wouldnt be so attracted to these people or tolerate their neglect for so long. Taking too much and giving too much are both avoidant tendencies. Theyre both ways of not showing up.

Based on your feelings about your business partner, Im going to guess that you sometimes have trouble showing up emotionally when other people need you, even when those people arent lying and stealing and going on benders. Im telling you this without the slightest hint of condemnation, because Im the same way. When youre avoidant, that makes it difficult to separate the truly abusive friendships from the merely taxing ones. No matter how difficult someone is, you behave the same way: You give too much, dont ask for what you want, and never say no. This is the behavior of someone whos struggling with intimacy. Showing up and voicing your needs is very difficult for you. The more you examine that, the happier youll be in your old and new friendships and in your marriage.

Your friendship with your business partner has started to feel like a duty to you. His calls make you anxious, yet you keep behaving as if youll drop everything to support him through thick and thin. You claim that if you speak up and assert a boundary, hell become even more depressed. But listen: This is your business partner! The stakes are too high not to address this. You cant be his therapist or his mom. And you need to notice that you dont enjoy playing those roles. It makes you anxious that he expects too much from you.

In order to move forward with more clarity, you need to pay close attention to what feels bad and what feels good to you. I know that sounds so basic, but avoidant people like us move away from intimacy and conflict and feelings. We dont notice how we feel and dont know how to stand up for ourselves. We only know how to appear to serve other people well, repeatedly disappearing into our friends drama so we dont have to grapple with ourselves and our own needs.

I know thats hard to do. I spent years telling myself that there was no way I could speak openly and directly to my difficult friends about my needs and preferences. I couldnt imagine telling a friend what I needed emotionally, outside of the context of a big fight. I was used to feeling alienated and lonely in most friendships. I didnt know how to say no to anything without feeling guilty about it.

I used to think it was odd that friends would talk about getting off the phone abruptly when one of their friends was going on and on about some drama. I thought asserting strong boundaries meant that you were cold and controlling. But now, I realize that, considering the kinds of people I love talkative artists, obsessive writers, intense workaholics, anxious, idea-focused weirdos at large I have to have strong boundaries. HEALTHY BOUNDARIES MAKE IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE INTERESTING FRIENDS. Saying no makes it possible to say yes to wild, difficult, fascinating people.

So, now that youve expunged your lying, stealing friend from your life, I want you to try to expunge the word toxic from your life, too. Are you friends with a lot of difficult people? Yes. Should you cut some of them out of your life? Maybe. I mean, I would probably meet someone at the police station once and then Id be done. But you still need to recognize that taking too much and giving too much are both ways of not showing up. As long as youre managing other people instead of being present and engaging honestly, youre going to struggle to have healthy, intimate relationships with them.

Im going to guess that, as a child, you were asked to cater to other peoples needs while muffling your own. When you grow up that way, you end up believing that what feels good to you is utterly and entirely beside the point. So when you finally do try to dig into your emotional needs, its going to kick up a lot of shame for you. That shame is liable to cloud your stories about some of your broken friendships.

Its good for you to notice that youre someone whos attracted to people with addiction issues. You can resolve to be more self-protective and decide youre way too sensitive and anxious to be thrown into volatile situations with people who are actively struggling with addiction. Thats pragmatic. Thats you setting boundaries and standing up for whats best for you.

But when youre tempted to lump together depressed guys and insecure women and friends whove grown distant under the same toxic label, thats a sign that your shame and insecurities are telling an overly reductive story about reality. When you globalize, stigmatize, blame, conflate, and distance yourself from others, you have to notice that. Thats you being avoidant: embracing extreme definitions and writing other people off entirely in order to sidestep your most vulnerable feelings. Your shame about how broken you feel, underneath all of your defenses, is creating a reductive story about reality, one where everyone else is bad and youre good.

I know its hard to look at that. Intimacy is hard in general! For almost everyone! Its humbling to realize that your damage probably matches your friends damage on some level, it just manifests itself in different ways. This is a good moment for you to really humble yourself. You need to feel this lesson. You need to notice how hard it is for you to show up. Youre about to get married! This is a crucial moment for you to figure out how to stand up for your needs.

Luckily, the path forward is pretty simple. You need to recognize that youre a fallible human being like any other. You need to resolve not to encounter the world through a fog of shame and defensiveness. That means learning to feel your feelings without shame. That means asking for what you want without shame. And that means letting other people show up and take up space with their flawed selves, knowing that when you cant show up for them, you can say so without guilt.

Boundaries give you freedom, in other words. Feelings are your guide. You have rights now. Its a whole new world. Youll feel that once you start feeling more present and standing up for yourself. It feels like getting into really good shape and suddenly being able to do things you couldnt do before. Youll find yourself boldly striking up new friendships, too, because youll be less afraid of becoming a cork on the high seas again.

So dont just write off all of your oldest friends and disappear into your new marriage. Examine each old friendship without conflating it with the others. Keep looking around and opening your heart to new people. The healthiest people I know are always open to new friendships, because they recognize how that new energy can bring fresh ideas and experiences and fun into their lives.

Its normal to face a major friendship reckoning in your early 30s. Dont hide from this. Embrace this humbling moment as much as you can. Just remember that giving endlessly isnt actually generous. Its a way of disappearing in plain sight. You want more than that now. So ask for it, from yourself and others.


Ask Polly appears here the first three Wednesdays of every month. Additional columns and discussion threads are available onthe Ask Polly newsletter, so sign uphere.Pollys evil twin Mollys newsletter ishere. Order Heather Havrileskys new book,What If This Were Enough?,here.

All letters to askpolly@nymag.com become the property of Ask Polly and New York Media LLC and will be edited for length, clarity, and grammatical correctness.

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Most of My Friendships Were Toxic, But Now Im So Lonely! - The Cut

Kyndra Sanchez to star in Nickelodeon series Santiago of the Seas – Animation Xpress

14-year-old Kyndra Sanchez is starring as one of the voices in Nickelodeons new animated series, Santiago of the Seas. Sanchez plays Bonnie Bones, a scheming pirate whose goal is to make life miserable for steadfast sailor Santiago.

Bonnie Bones is self-centered, outspoken and very funny, Sanchez said. And its so much fun playing such a strong Latina girl. Sanchez made her debut at the age of eight in a Verizon commercial. Since then she has appeared on Sesame Street, Dora and Friends: Into the City and Butterbeans Cafe.

The interactive show follows the adventures of an eight-year-old, kind and brave junior pirate Santiago Montes who searches for hidden treasure, always stands by his best mates and keeps the high seas safe from villains like Bonnie Bones and her sidekick Sir Butterscotch.

Santiago, or Santi, as he is called, is voiced by Kevin Chacon, who landed the role in 2018. I usually record my parts in New York, but since the pandemic, Ive been recording from a studio that was built in my room, Chacon said.Sire Butterscotch is played by John Leguizamo.

The series features Latino-Caribbean culture by highlighting such things as its music, language, cuisine, dances, architecture, customs and folklore. It also helps the viewers learn the Spanish language as the characters switch between English and Spanish throughout the episodes.

The show is created by Niki Lpez, with Leslie Valdes and Valerie Walsh Valdes (the husband-and-wife team behind Dora the Explorer). Valdes and Walsh serve as executive producers with Lopez co-executive producing. It is produced by Nickelodeon Animation. Production is overseen by Nickelodeon Preschool senior vice president Eryk Casemiro.

The series will premiere on 9 October on Nickelodeon

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Kyndra Sanchez to star in Nickelodeon series Santiago of the Seas - Animation Xpress

Xitler Isnt Going Down Like Hitler; To Stare Him Down, Trade Should Be The Worlds Weapon Of Choice – Swarajya

A foreign ministers meeting of the Quad, the four-nation bloc comprising the US, Japan, India and Australia, sent a strong message to that rogue entity called the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on Tuesday (6 October). At the same time, it also sent an additional signal, that the US and Asian members of the Quad have differing approaches to the problem of dealing with China.

While US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo was upfront in calling out China, the other three failed to name China, speaking about it in elliptical terms. Pompeo said, it is more critical than ever that we collaborate to protect our people and partners from the CCPs exploitation, corruption and coercion. We have seen this in the South, in the East China Sea, the Mekong, the Himalayas, the Taiwan Straits.

The tone was different with the other three members. The Japanese talked about developing a common vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific, and India about the need for upholding a rules-based international order. The Australian foreign minister talked about the Quad having a positive agenda, reports Mint.

Where there may be substantive agreement between members of the Quad in trade, where at least three members, the US, Japan and India, have quietly decided to move trade dependence and supply chains away from China.

Trade is where the Quad can and should confront and contain China. It is the least damaging among many options.

India has already banned certain Chinese-owned apps and has chosen to vet Chinese investment projects most closely. It has put in place a production-linked incentive scheme to get companies to shift production bases to India under Atmanirbhar Bharat an umbrella term meant largely to get more military equipment produced locally and to get key players in electronics and active pharma ingredients to Make in India (which is code for lowering China dependence).

Japan is offering incentives for companies to relocate supply chains outside China, and Australia is also trying to figure out how to reduce its China linkages after being subjected to state-supported cyber-attacks from Dragon country.

The US under Trump has, of course, been escalating a trade war for years, and has recently extended sanctions and penalties on Chinese companies.

If the Quad has, separately, done much to call out and impose economic costs on China for hostile acts against its neighbours and trade partners, and is yet hesitating to act more boldly in unison, the reasons for the ambivalence vary from country to country.

For the US, which is a Pacific power, putting a check on Chinese domination in Asia is critical. It thus has military (mostly naval), economic and cyber security interests at stake. But it faces no direct military threat from China. And, having actively disengaged from many military conflicts of the George Bush and Barack Obama years, it has no reason to contest China militarily beyond a point.

Japan and Australia face economic and cyber threats from China, but it is unlikely that China will ever escalate conflicts with them to the military arena. So, neither has an interest in provoking China beyond a point.

In the case of India, we face a triple threat: actual possibility of a military conflict, a trade conflict, and cyber-warfare. We are vulnerable on all fronts, though militarily we can give them a bloody nose. But we have even less of a reason to provoke a military conflict right now, when we are down on the economic front.

Most significant, the country that really faces a military and economic threat to its existence from China is Taiwan, but it is not even mentioned as a potential member of the Quad.

Even in the US, the Democratic party is more likely to try and heal its rupture with China, which makes it riskier for the other Quad members to do anything that will end up in military, cyber or economic conflicts that nobody can win.

While the whole of Europe and most of Asia (barring Pakistan and North Korea) are clear that China is no cuddly teddy bear, no one wants to confront it. If you leave out Donald Trump, most of the world (including India) has been extraordinarily nice to China, never mind how badly it behaves with them. This is, of course, basic human behaviour. When faced with a loud and muscular bully, very few stand up to it.

The world did not stand up to Adolf Hitler when he started militarising post-First World War Germany, or when he swallowed up Austria and a part of Czechoslovakia. It was only when he invaded Poland that the world could no longer afford to ignore the new thug who was threatening everybody.

When the US was obsessed with the Soviet Union, and later the non-existent Russian threat, it was over-sweet to China, and allowed it to break every norm of economic behaviour from currency manipulation to intellectual property theft to adoption of non-tariff barriers and predatory export pricing.

India was no different. Jawaharlal Nehru, of course, allowed the Chinese to swallow Tibet without a murmur, declined a UN Security Council seat in favour of communist China, and sent his soldiers to war in 1962 without proper woollies or ammunition. Recently, Narendra Modi, after standing up to China in Doklam, has tried hard to be nice to Xi Jinping in bilateral meetings to his eternal regret, as China repaid his friendliness with hostility.

The problem is, unlike Hitler, Xi Jinping (Xitler) is on a stronger wicket. Hitler did not have the atom bomb or the military might to take on so many great powers all together. China not only has nuclear weapons, but also the conventional military might and the population numbers to thwart any concerted military threat to itself excepting on the high seas, where American naval power still is vastly superior. If the US, India, Australia and Japan decide to block China on the high seas and restrict its sea access, they can do something to thwart the dragon.

But not much more. Even partial denial of sea access will not impact China much as it has enough land and other routes from which its economic power can be projected and trade can continue without too many barriers. This includes the Gwadar Port in Balochistan through Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

To make matters worse, a Covid-impacted world may have no stomach to do even this, and its dependence on Chinese purchasing power may have grown over the last few years as China focused on internal consumption growth.

A McKinsey study last year, titled China and the World, written before China started baring its fangs over Hong Kong, Taiwan, India and much of its southern neighbourhood, had this to say:

The relationship between China and the rest of the world appears to be entering a new phase. Chinas economic miracle was fuelled by industry and investment, but today domestic consumption is the main driving force of growth. The country is becoming less exposed in economic terms to the rest of the world. However, reflecting Chinas rise to being the worlds second-largest economy and its leading trading nation, the rest of the world is becoming more exposed to China. These shifts have been accompanied by trade tensions and rising protectionism in many countries, raising the question whether we have reached a point of peak integration between China and the world.

The report raises the right question: have we a reached a point from where the worlds engagement with China can only fall?

The answer is a big yes. Xitler cant be confronted militarily like Hitler was. He can only be sanctioned and isolated in trade, with the hope that the Chinese people will, at some time, realise that the cause of their increasing isolation is not the rest of the world, but their own autocratic party and its bosses.

This ought to be the Quads primary prong of strategic containment of China, apart from naval coordination in the Indo-Pacific region. Xitler cannot be defeated like Hitler; he has to be worn down economically like the Soviet Union was. The world has to brace for multi-year economic warfare. It should not blink first.

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Xitler Isnt Going Down Like Hitler; To Stare Him Down, Trade Should Be The Worlds Weapon Of Choice - Swarajya

Genting and Royal Caribbean to relaunch Singapore cruise operations – TradeWinds

Genting Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International have both unveiled plans to restart cruise operations in Singapore.

The moves come less than a week after Singaporean authorities revealed that concrete steps were being taken to allow the resumption of cruises from the city-states port.

Genting Cruise Lines brand Dream Cruises will be the first to launch, with its 150,600-gt World Dream (built 2017) scheduled to depart on its first cruise on 6 November.

Working very closely with the Singapore government, Dream Cruises was granted approval by the local authorities to start a pilot based on the companys stringent and enhanced health and safety protocols, complemented by its exemplary safety track record during its first two months of operations in Taiwan, the company said.

Dream Cruises became the first cruise company in Asia to relaunch when it began operating domestic cruises out of the Taiwanese port of Keelung in July

Out of Singapore, the World Dream will operate a series of two and three night Seacation cruises out onto the high seas.

Royal Caribbean Internationals 169,000-dwt Quantum of the Seas (built 2014) is scheduled to begin its series of three and four night high seas cruises on 1 December.

Both cruise operators went to great lengths to detail the protocols that will be put into place to minimize the risk of any coronavirus outbreaks on board their ships including mandatory testing before boarding.

With Singapores foreign borders still largely closed, the cruises will be aimed exclusively at local residents.

Travel industry sources believe that they will be well subscribed due to pent up demand from Singaporeans who have been living under Covid-19 restrictions since April.

We're a small island. There is a growing feeling of cabin. People want a break, even if it is on a cruiseship going nowhere in particular, explained one cruise industry observer.

While Singapore was hard hit by the pandemic earlier this year, daily new infection numbers have dropped to single digits, with most new cases involving foreign arrivals under quarantine and expatriate labourers living in dormitories.

Community cases have averaged one per day over the past two week, according to data released by the Ministry of Health on Thursday.

Government ministers have said that residents should not expect to take foreign holidays during the end-of-year holiday period because while the pandemic has been contained in Singapore, many countries are still experiencing rising infection rates.

Cruises to nowhere are considered a low risk as passengers on the ships will not come into contact with any foreigners. They are effectively a domestic cruise as the ships will effectively remain under the Singapore safety bubble.

Last week the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) awarded a tender to DNV GL to create a cruise compliance audit and certification programme for cruise lines that want to restart cruise operations out of Singapore.

STB said it planned to initially allow only high seas cruises to nowhere lasting from two to four nights, with the passenger capacity of cruiseships capped at 50% for at least the first three months.

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Genting and Royal Caribbean to relaunch Singapore cruise operations - TradeWinds

Dog saved on the high seas – kdvr.com

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Dog saved on the high seas - kdvr.com

Vault of the Ancients update brings dogs and treasures to Sea of Thieves – PC Invasion

RaresSea of Thieves has certainly seen a shift in the tides of late. Going from being derided and evolving into a wonderful world of adventures on the high seas, fans have been rewarded for their patience as the studio continues to support the live service game. Outside of expansions and even someBattletoads additions, we are now getting mans best friends added to the game as pets. Dogs were shown at gamescom 2020, and they are too adorable not to have on board. Of course, it all comes via a brand new update, Vaults of the Ancients.

These Vaults of the Ancientsbelonged to the Gold Hoarders. Home to plenty of loot, the keys to these treasure troves have been hidden. However, the faction has now deemed that a bad idea and they need players to help locate the keys once more. Of course, why bother returning the loot to their rightful owners? You are a pirate, after all. Inside the vaults, you will be able to find special treasures. Getting them is not easy, as you will have to locate certain medallions and solve a puzzle under the stress of time. With a heist and a race, Vaults of the Ancientsis not playing around.

In order to help the players find the right stuff to do, Rare will be inserting some mysterious notes into Sea of Thieves. Open up your radial menu, and there you will see recommendations from the developers. New events, voyages, and NPCs are pointed out for your convenience. Vaults of the Ancientswill also be coming with accessibility improvements. Some examples include making island banners less obstructive, and tweaks to the single stick mode.

The hidden treasures of the Vaults, as well as your new furry friends, can be found starting this September 9 in the Vaults of the Ancients update for Sea of Thieves.

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Vault of the Ancients update brings dogs and treasures to Sea of Thieves - PC Invasion

Piracy in 2020: the trends you need to know – Lexology

Piracy has existed for as long as there has been maritime trade; it conjures images of sail ships, the jolly roger, treasure and buccaneers on the seven seas. Pirates in the twenty first century, however, are more familiar with semi-automatic weapons than a cutlass, while their treasure is less gold doubloons than hostages and the latest electric goods.

According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), piracy can be defined as the act of boarding any vessel with intent to commit theft or any other crime, and with an intent or capacity to use force in furtherance of that act. Stamping out piracy is an ongoing battle, but in recent years we have seen some positive trends. Somali waters are perhaps the most well-known location of the modern-day pirates, largely due to headlines generated during the 2000s. Since then, the region has managed to significantly reduce numbers of piracy incidents, in part due to surveillance from the air and sea, and an increased international cooperation between countries' navies. Though it is considered that the decisive factor was a concerted effort to improve security measures aboard vessels, particularly through the use of armed guards. This fall in numbers is at face value a global trend, with incidents of piracy falling worldwide in recent years.

2020 is, however, on course to buck this downward trend. The IMB's Piracy Reporting Centre recorded 98 incidents of piracy and armed robbery in the first half of 2020, up from 78 in the first half of 2019.

New era, new tactics?

The traditional modus operandi for pirates has not evolved dramatically over the years. It involves attacking vessels from astern, often at night, using grappling hooks and ropes to board the ship before anyone raises the alarm. To mitigate against this, vessels have long been warned not to drop anchor in high-risk areas and are increasingly being advised of the dangers of even drifting in these zones.

Where pirates have evolved is their capability to target ships at increasing distances from the coastline. We are typically seeing attacks take place between 45 and 75 nautical miles out to sea. There are also incidents recorded as far as 400 nautical miles from the shoreline. In these incidents, smaller ships are working in conjunction with a larger mothership that carries fuel, supplies and ammunition. Further, attacks are also becoming increasingly common during daylight hours.

Victims of piracy are often simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the vast expanse of the ocean pirates may just pick the first vessel they come across. There have been incidents however of pirates utilising open source intelligence and modern technology, specifically online tracking apps and surveillance equipment to target vessels. It is impossible to estimate how widespread the use of this technology is but in one recorded hijacking incident in 2017, in the South China Sea, the pirates monitored the online Marine Traffic system and used the Ship Finder app to follow the movements of the targeted ship. There is also anecdotal evidence of Somali pirates researching information on vessels and the counter measures being employed to combat them. There are various ship tracking apps freely available online which include huge swaths of detail on potential targets including images of vessels, types of vessel i.e.: tanker or cargo vessel and their proposed routes. These are all hugely valuable bits of information and it is not a leap to imagine how they might be used increasingly by pirates to scope out targets and plan their attack vectors.

There has also been some suggestion that informants are providing access to ship information making it possible for pirates to locate target specific vessels, which may have cargo of value, in the vast expanses of the sea. Crews of some hijacked vessels have said that the pirates appear to know specific details about the ship including its layout.

Kidnap for ransom is also trending as it is much easier, quicker and often more profitable to take human cargo rather than the entire vessel - which may be difficult to house and control. This trend is being driven primarily by events in The Gulf of Guinea were violence towards crew is also an increasing risk. Between January and July of this year 77 crew were taken hostage or kidnapped according to IMBs half year report. The Gulf of Guinea accounted for 49 of these kidnappings. The maritime pirates operating in the Gulf of Guinea, like the Somali pirates of old, are known to have strong connections to their land-based counterparts, especially those operating in the Niger Delta - notorious for kidnap for ransom gangs. This gives them unique access to the markets that profit from piracy activity.

Piracy is still rooted in a tried and tested model, but there is evidence of its evolution from basic armed robberies. The relationship with land-based groups demonstrates an operation that goes beyond regional borders. While modern technology will continue to improve a pirates capability and opportunities which means seafarers must continue to be vigilant and stay informed of trends.

Where are the hotspots?

There are four traditional hotspots for piracy: the Gulf of Aden, associated with Somali pirates of the 2000s; Southeast Asia; the Gulf of Mexico; and finally, the Gulf of Guinea which reportedly accounts for the majority of maritime kidnappings in the world. There is a concern though that an economic downturn, of the sort caused by the COVID 19 pandemic, will cause a rise in piracy in other regions of the world as individuals search out alternative means of income.

Though very different parts of the world, the same factors explain why piracy has risen in these areas:

- Corruption;

- The weak rule of law and unstable governments mean authorities are unable to respond to the threats;

- Economic conditions have led some people to resort to illegal activity. Piracy is a lucrative job.

These factors are likely to be exacerbated by the COVID 19 pandemic as security is directed to other priorities and the global economy suffers a downturn. This is reflected in the number of kidnap incidents since lockdown; with 32 of the 49 crew kidnap incidents in the Gulf of Guinea during the first half of this year occurring between May and July.

Gulf of Mexico

Maritime security officials say attacks have returned in the Gulf of Mexico due to instability in the region. The security forces available are also focused on inland issues during the current pandemic. When Mexico opened its oil industry to international investment it led to that sector being seen as a lucrative target. Though private sector involvement has been rolled back since Lopez Obrador became President, attacks are still occurring on ships and platforms tied to Mexico's oil industry, robbing crews of money and seizing personal belongings and technical equipment.

Reports emerged indicating that on 24 July a group of armed pirates targeted an offshore supply vessel which was conducting operations near the Odin Offshore platform off the coast of Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz state.

The attacks in the gulf have persisted into the summer, causing the U.S. government in June to issue a special security alert for the region, singling out the Bay of Campeche as a particularly perilous region.


The number of piracy and armed robbery incidents reported in Asian waters has more than doubled in the first half of 2020 compared to last year. There were 51 incidents reported from January to June this year, compared with 28 for the same period in 2019.

The most high-profile incident in Asia took place in January, when pirates boarded a fishing trawler off the east coast of the Malaysian state of Sabah and abducted eight crew members. Six months later, five crew members are still being held in captivity.

The half-yearly statistics were released by the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Information Sharing Centre on 16 July. Most of the incidents in the Singapore Strait this year occurred in the hours of darkness and involved bulk carriers - although tankers and tug-boats were also targeted. ReCAAP has attributed a lack of law enforcement, patrol and surveillance to the spike in incidents.

Gulf of Guinea

The Gulf of Guinea off West Africa is increasingly dangerous for commercial shipping, accounting for the majority of maritime kidnappings worldwide.

Where Asia may experience the most piracy incidents, which are generally thefts, the Gulf of Guinea, particularly the Niger River Delta region, is the most perilous route for ships' crews.

"The violence towards the crew is quite high and significant," says Cyrus Mody, Assistant Director for Commercial Crime Services at the International Chamber of Commerce. "The incidents are targeted at the kidnappings of the crew and the attacks are a lot more violent than other parts of the world". "Violence against crews is a growing risk in a workforce already under immense pressure," says IMB Director Michael Howlett. "In the Gulf of Guinea attackers armed with knives and guns now target crews on every type of vessel. Everyones vulnerable."

In total, IMBs Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) reports that 49 crew have been kidnapped in 2020, 32 between May and July, for ransom in the Gulf of Guinea and held captive on land for on average up to six weeks.[1]

Attempts to mitigate this are hampered somewhat by the fact that none of the countries in this region allow for private security on board. Only those with memoranda of understanding with local navies, who in turn provide security, are allowed to operate. This obviously comes at a premium.

Gulf of Aden

The security focus less than a decade ago was in the Gulf of Aden, regarded then as the most dangerous waters in the world. Somali pirates persistently hijacked large cargo ships. But a combination of coordinated international naval efforts, improved local governments and enhanced security measures aboard ships, including armed personnel, reduced the threat of pirates off the East African coast.

Whats the authorities response?

The response to maritime piracy requires state cooperation; to date three agreements have been set up in different regions of the world. The members to these regional agreements agree to arrest, investigate, and prosecute pirates on the high seas, and to suppress armed robbery in their respective territorial waters.

- In Asia, the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) was established in 2006;

- In East Africa, the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC) was agreed on in 2009;

- Finally, the Yaound Code of Conduct (YCoC) to combat illicit maritime activities in West and Central Africa was signed in 2013 by 25 regional states.

The collection and dissemination of data on maritime crimes is one of the most important practical tasks carried out by the regional agreements, because to efficiently coordinate cooperation between maritime security actors it is crucial to have available all relevant information on the threat at hand. Furthermore, by creating reliability, regular information sharing has the potential to strengthen trust and confidence among key actors.

While the setup of the regional agreements is certainly a milestone in counterpiracy governance, the different regions are faced with a variety of challenges concerning cooperation in general and the implementation of the agreements provisions, in particular:

- Concerns over territorial sovereignty;

- Lack of national capacities;

- Gaps in scope.

Looking ahead, threats to maritime security cannot be understood in isolation, as they are deeply interrelated and tied into international trends.

What can you do to stay safe from piracy?

For those operating in the area the best advice is to engage a professional maritime security advisor. They will be up to date with all the latest guidance and best practice, including onboard security and advice on how to navigate high risk areas. Furthermore, they will also be up to date on the latest trends and hotspots to help you best prepare your route.

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Piracy in 2020: the trends you need to know - Lexology

‘We are closer to the other side of this crisis every day’ Cruise boss confident of a return to sea – Telegraph.co.uk

The head of Royal Caribbean Group has revealed that cruisers wont have to wait too much longer before setting sail once again with his company.

Speaking to travel agents on a webcast on online trade hub RCL Cares, Richard Fain said he had been heartened by the recent resumption of cruising in Europe: Were not through this yet, but there are more bright spots and bits of good news than there have been for quite a while. We are closer to the other side of this crisis every day.

The chairman and chief executive said that Royal Caribbean is committed to learning from early efforts and will start slowly and methodically when the brand returns to the high seas.

In Germany, our joint venture company, Tui Cruises, has been operating cruises since late July. In Italy, MSC Cruises started operating last week and has attracted a lot of really very positive publicity. We understand Costa Cruises is starting operating there in just a few weeks.

Not that the Royal Caribbean Group will have a chance to test the waters just yet as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has extended a no-sail order effectively banning cruising around American waters until the end of October. Similarly Canada has prohibited the arrival of cruise ships until at least October 31 while cruising in Australia has been suspended until December.

Fain also used the webcast to introduce Dr Calvin Johnson, Royal Caribbeans new head of public health and chief medical officer.

Asked as to why he applied for the role, Johnson said: I saw the opportunity to apply my skills in a really meaningful and substantive way during probably the most significant health crisis in our time.

It is the nature of the work. It is the opportunity to serve 75,000 crew and to protect their health and to serve four to six million guests a year and to protect their health. I am all focusing on protection of health.

Royal Caribbean Group is the parent company of Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea. It also owns a partial interest in several European cruise brands.

The pandemic has seen the cruise linedelay the debut of the worlds largest ship, Wonder of the Seas, which was due to welcome passengers next spring.

While cruise lines slowly resume service in Europe, many others have delayed their restart until late 2020, or into 2021.

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'We are closer to the other side of this crisis every day' Cruise boss confident of a return to sea - Telegraph.co.uk

How Chinas Massive Fishing Fleet Is Transforming the Worlds Oceans – Slate

Thousands of fishing boats berth at shore in Zhoushan, China, due to Typhoon Maysak on Tuesday.Reuters

More than a hundred miles from shore, near the coast of West Africa, I accompanied marine police officers from Gambia as they arrested 15 foreign ships on charges of labor violations and illegal fishing over the course of a week in 2019. All but one of the vessels arrested were from China.

At the beginning of that same year, during a monthlong voyage on a toothfish longliner headed into Antarctic waters from Punta Arenas, Chile, the only other ships we passed were a dozen rusty Chinese purse seinersfishing boats using long curtainlike netsthat looked barely seaworthy.

Chinas fishing fleet is more than just a commercial concern; it acts as a projection of geopolitical power on the worldsoceans.

Aboard a South Korean squid boat in May 2019, I watched nearly two dozen ships flying Chinese flags make their way single file into North Korean waters, in flagrant violation of United Nations sanctions. They were part of the worlds largest fleet of illegal ships: 800 Chinese trawlers fishing in the Sea of Japan as of 2019, revealed in a recent investigation for NBC.

And this month, more than 340 Chinese fishing vessels appeared just outside the biodiverse and ecologically sensitive Galpagos Marine Reserve. Many of the ships were tied to companies associated with illegal fishing, according to C4ADS, a conflict research firm. Three years prior, a similarly sized Chinese flotilla arrived in these same waters, and one ship was apprehended with about 300 tons of illegally caught fish, including endangered species, such as scalloped hammerhead sharks.

With anywhere from 200,000 to 800,000 boats, some as far afield as Argentina, China is unmatched in the size and reach of its fishing armada. Fueled primarily by government subsidies, its growth and activities have largely gone unchecked, in part because China itself has historically had few rules governing fishing operations.The dominance and global ubiquity of this fleet raise broader questions about how China has put so many boats on the water, and what it means for the worlds oceans.

Chinas fishing fleet is more than just a commercial concern; it acts as a projection of geopolitical power on the worlds oceans. As the U.S. Navy has pulled back from the waters of West Africa and the Middle East, China has bolstered its fishing and naval presence. And in places such as the South China Sea and the Arctics Northern Sea Route, China has laid claim to prized shipping lanes as well as subsea oil and gas deposits.

The scale and aggressiveness of its fleet puts China in control, says Greg Poling, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, adding that few foreign countries have been willing to push back when Chinas fishing boats make incursions into their national waters.

Not that the fishing itself is unimportant. The fleet is also a way to obtain food security for Chinas 1.4 billion people. Many of the marine stocks closest to Chinas shores have dwindled from overfishing and industrialization, so ships are forced to venture farther to fill their nets. The Chinese government says it has roughly 2,600 distant-water fishing vessels, which, according to a recent report by the Stimson Center, a security research group, makes it three times larger than the fleets of the next top four countriesTaiwan, Japan, South Korea, and Spaincombined.Over the past two decades, China has spent billions of dollars supporting its fishing industry, says Tabitha Grace Mallory, a professor at the University of Washington, who specializes in Chinas fishing policies, in an email. In 2018, total global fisheries subsidies were estimated to be $35.4 billion, with China accounting for $7.2 billion of it. This includes those for fuel and for new boats that increase the size of the fleet.

The government also helps cover the cost of new engines, of more durable steel hulls for trawlers, and for armed security and medical ships to be stationed permanently at fishing grounds, enabling fishing captains to stay at sea for longer. Chinese fishermen further benefit from government-led fishing intelligence that helps them find the richest waters.

Without its massive subsidy schemes, Chinas distant water fishing fleet would be a fraction of its current size, and most of its South China Sea fleet wouldnt exist at all, Poling says.

Daniel Pauly, principal investigator of the Sea Around Us Project at the University of British Columbias Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, explained in an email that these subsidies have not only increased geopolitical tensions by allowing ships to venture into contested regions, they also play a major role in depleting fish stocks as they keep vessels operating that would otherwise be decommissioned.

As long as fleets are provided financial assistance to overfish, experts say that sustainable fishing is impossible. Already 90 percent of commercial fish stocks tracked worldwide by the U.N.s Food and Agriculture Organization have been overfished or fully fishedmeaning they are past their capacity to sustainably replenish themselvesincluding the worlds 10 most important commercial species.

China is by no means singular when it comes to subsidizing its fishing fleet. More than half of the global fishing industry would be unprofitable at its current scale without government subsidies, according to a 2018 study in Science Advances led by National Geographic Society explorer-in-residence Enric Sala.

Japan spends more in subsidies for fishing on the high seasthe parts of the ocean not under control by any governmentthan any other country, accounting for about 20 percent of global high seas fishing subsidies, Salas study shows. Spain accounts for 14 percent of global fishing subsidies, followed by China at 10 percent, then South Korea, and the U.S.

But when it comes to scale, China is by far the biggest. With more than 800 ships on the high seas, Chinese vessels were responsible for more than 35 percent of the reported global catch on the high seas in 2014more than any other country. (Taiwan, with the next highest number of vessels at 593, accounts for about 12 percent of that catch, and Japan, with 478 ships, accounts for less than 5 percent.)

Subsidies are not just a major reason that the oceans are rapidly running out of fish. In putting too many vessels on the water globally, subsidies can lead to unsustainable fishing, unhealthy competition, territorial disputes, and illegal fishing as captains become desperate to find new, less-crowded fishing grounds.

To put it bluntly, this is akin to paying burglars to rob your neighbors house, says Peter Thomson, the U.N. secretary-generals special envoy for the ocean, about the role that subsidies play in encouraging illegal fishing.

China ranks as having the worlds worst score when it comes to illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, according to an index published last year by Poseidon Aquatic Resource Management, a fishery and aquaculture consulting firm.

In 2016, the government released a five-year plan to cap the number of distant-water fishing vessels to fewer than 3,000 by 2021. (Its unclear whether China has made any progress toward this goal, however, because the government releases little data on ship numbers.)And in June, the Chinese fishing authorities announced they will close squid-catching seasons for Chinese boats in certain South American waters from July to November, citing the need to allow squid populations to replenish. This is the first time China has ever voluntarily closed a fishing season.

I believe that the Chinese government is serious when they offer to restrict their distant water fleet, Pauly says. Whether they can enforce the planned restrictions onto their fleet is another question; indeed, I dont believe they control their distant-water fleets any more than we control ours in the West.

Ensuring that ships of any nation comply with environmental, labor, or other rules when they are in international waters is difficult, since no country has the jurisdiction or resources to police them so far from shore.

With a rapidly growing middle class thats able to afford more seafood, the Chinese government has boosted its aquaculture industry with more than $250 million in subsidies between 2015 and 2019 in an effort to reduce the countrys dependence on wild-caught fish.

That move, however, presents a new problem: To fatten up their fish, most fish farms rely on fishmeal, a high-protein powder predominantly made from wild-caught fish from foreign or international waters. Furthermore, aquaculture takes a lot of fishmealbefore a farmed tuna gets to market, for example, it may eat more than 15 times its weight in wild fish in the form of fishmeal.

Ocean conservationists warn that the voracious nature of fishmeal production is accelerating ocean depletion, contributing to illegal fishing, destabilizing the aquatic food chain, and sapping poorer countries waters of protein sources needed for local subsistence.

Catching large amounts of wild fish to feed a growing demand for farmed fish makes little sense, Sala says. A fraction of those wild fish could instead be used to feed people directly, with less impact on ocean life.

To meet the demand for fishmeal and fish oil, Chinese fishing authorities said in 2015 that they planned to increase the amount of krill harvested from Antarctic waters from 32,000 metric tons to 2 million metric tons, though they committed to staying out of ecologically vulnerable areas. Krill are a primary food source for whales, and conservationists worry about the knock-on effects of such a high harvest.

In addition to the potentially devastating environmental consequences of overfishing and fishery collapses, so many ships on the sea means more competition for fishing grounds, which can destabilize relationships between countries and lead to violent clashes.

In 2016, the South Korean Coast Guard opened fire on two Chinese fishing vessels that had threatened to ram patrol boats in the Yellow Sea. A month earlier, Chinese fishermen rammed and sank another South Korean speedboat in the same area. In the same year, Argentina sank a Chinese boat it claimed was fishing illegally in its waters. Indonesia, South Africa, and the Philippines have all had recent run-ins with Chinese fishing fleets. In most of these cases, the Chinese boats were fishing for squid, which represents more than half of the fleets catch on the high seas.

One of the reasons Chinas fleet is so bloated is that some of its fishing ships serve purposes other than merely fishing. Part of a so-called civilian militia, Poling says, these fishing vessels are dispatched to conflict zones at sea to surveil the waters and occasionally to intimidate and ram fishing or law enforcement boats from other countries. Separate from its fishing subsidies, China has a program that incentivizes boats to operate in disputed waters in the South China Sea as a way to assert Chinas claims. They get many of the same benefits as the distant-water fleet, plus cash payments because operating in that region is otherwise unprofitable.More than 200 of these militia fishing boats occupy the waters around the South China Seas disputed Spratly Islandsan area rich with fish, and possibly oil and natural gas tooto which China, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Taiwan lay claim. Satellite imagery shows that the Chinese fishing boats in the area spend most of their time anchored close together in clusters and are not actually fishing.

The only reason that smaller [Chinese] fishermen go out to the Spratlys is because theyre paid to do so, Poling says. The presence of these fishing vessels has sped the decline of fish around the islands, led to clashes with fishing boats from other countries, and given China cover to build military installations on some of the reefs, further reinforcing its claims to the territory.

Partly because they travel in groups and sometimes with armed security, Chinese fishing ships are often aggressive toward competitors or perceived threats. I saw this up close in 2019 after paying my way onto a South Korean squid ship and heading offshore in the Sea of Japan, where I hoped to document the presence of illegal Chinese squidders operating in North Korean waters.

We raced to catch up with what turned out to be not just one ship but nearly two dozen, all heading single file from South Korean waters into North Koreanwaters.

Our captain was a short and wiry man, roughly 70 years old, with deep-set eyes and skin weathered like an elephant. On the morning of our scheduled departure, the hired crew told the captain that they would not be working the trip. They said they were too nervous about being associated with any reporting related to North Korea and about getting near Chinese fishing ships.

The captain said we could still go to sea with just his first mate but the ship would be tough to manage, dirtier than normal, and we would need to help him when asked.

Stinking of rotten chum and skating-rink slippery from the prior catch, the deck of the 60-foot-long wooden vessel was a mess. Crew quarters were trashed, and the ship engine conked out on us several hundred miles from shore, leading to a tense two hours until it was fixed.

Shortly after nightfall on our very first day offshore, the blip of a boat appeared on our radar. We raced to catch up with what turned out to be not just one ship but nearly two dozen, all heading single file from South Korean waters into North Korean waters. All were flying Chinese flags, and none with their transponders turned on, as required in South Korean waters.

In sending a previously invisible armada of industrial boats to fish in these banned waters, China has been violently displacing smaller North Korean vessels and spearheading a decline in once-abundant squid stocks. Asked about the findings, documented by novel satellite technology from Global Fishing Watch, and confirmed by my 2019 excursion, documented for NBC, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that it conscientiously enforced the U.N. Security Councils North Korea resolutions and has consistently punished illegal fishing, but it neither confirmed nor denied the presence of Chinese ships there.

We followed the boats, filmed them, documented their identification numbers, and after about 45 minutes, we put a drone in the air to get a better look at the ships. In response, one of the Chinese boat captains blared his horn, flashed his lights, and then abruptly cut toward us in a ramming maneuvera warning. We stayed our course, but the Chinese ship continued toward us. When it reached within 30 feet of us, we suddenly veered to avoid collision.

This was as much as our captain wanted to risk. Deciding it was too dangerous to continue, he turned our ship around and began the eight-hour trip back to port, during which he seemed unusually quiet and slightly rattled. They are very serious, he kept murmuring, referring to the Chinese fishermen, who, undaunted, continued heading into North Korean waters.

Clearly, subsidies had not just grown the Chinese fishing fleet into a global force of unprecedented size and geographic reach. They had also instilled a sense of ambition, drive, and boldness that few other countries or their fishing captains were willing or able to challenge.

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How Chinas Massive Fishing Fleet Is Transforming the Worlds Oceans - Slate