Chinese fishermen harvesting giant clams in Scarborough Shoal destroyed coral reefs in the process.
Philippines taking legal action over China's harvesting of Scarborough clams
Patricia Lourdes Viray ( - April 16, 2019 - 9:53am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government will be taking legal action against Chinese nationals harvesting giant clams in Scarborough or Panatag Shoal in the West Philippine Sea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said.

This statement comes in response to an ABS-CBN News report that the Chinese continue to extract giant clams at Scarborough Shoal, a traditional fishing ground off the coast of Zambales.

"We just caught them doing that recently, filed a diplomatic note, and will be taking legal action. With our legal department now," Locsin said on Twitter.

In the report, Filipino fishermen revealed that they have been watching the Chinese harvest giant clams in the area for years.

According to local fishermen, Chinese Coast Guard speed boats prevent Filipino and other fishing vessels from accessing the shoal.

Just last month, the camp of opposition senatorial bet Neri Colmenares released a documentary video where Filipino fishermen narrate how the Chinese Coast Guard would seize their catch and drive them away from Scarborough Shoal.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo then said the Philippine government would protest if proven that the Chinese harass Filipino fishermen.

Panelo insisted that the Philippine Coast Guard said here have been no incidents of harassment.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines also disputed the claims of Filipino fishermen from Masinloc, Zambales, which has jurisdiction over the Scarborough Shoal.

"We have coordinated with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and initially, there were no reports of Filipino fishermen being subjected to the said attack of Chinese water cannons, and so far, there were no sightings of dredging ships in the waters of Bajo De Masinloc or in the West Philippine Sea," AFP Northern Luzon Command commander Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Salamat said.

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