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Manila protests Beijing's unilateral fishing ban in South China Sea
Fishing boats are berthed at a fishing port in Lianyungang City, east China's Jiangsu Province, April 30, 2020. This year's summer fishing moratorium will start in the Bohai Sea, the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea and the waters north to 12 degrees north latitude of the South China Sea on May 1.
Xinhua/Geng Yuhe

Manila protests Beijing's unilateral fishing ban in South China Sea

Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) - May 18, 2021 - 9:54pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines on Tuesday stressed that it does not recognize China's imposition of a unilateral fishing ban in the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea.

On May 1, Beijing implemented its annual fishing moratorium over the Bohai Sea, the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea and the waters north to 12 degrees north latitude of the South China Sea.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Beijing's fishing ban covers areas wherein the Philippines exercises sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction.

Citing the July 2016 arbitral ruling that invalidated Beijing's nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea, the DFA stressed that such fishing moratorium "breached Article 36 of the 1982 UNCLOS with respect to the Philippines' sovereign rights over the living resources of its exclusive economic zone.

"China's annual fishing moratorium extends far beyond China's legitimate maritime entitlements under UNCLOS and is without basis under international law," the DFA said in a statement released Tuesday night.

The DFA also noted that the 2016 arbitral award affirmed the traditional and legitimate fishing rights of Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea, the part of the South China Sea within Philippine exclusive economic zone.

"China cannot legally impose nor legally enforce such a moratorium in the West Philippine Sea," the statement added.

Earlier this month, the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea said China's fishing ban does not cover Filipino fishermen.

The NTF-WPS encouraged Filipino fishermen to go out and fish in Philippine waters.

"This fishing ban does not apply to our fishermen and the NTF-WPS opposes China's imposition of the same over the areas within the territory and jurisdiction of the Philippines," the task force in a statement on May 4.

According to a report from Chinese state-run Xinhua, the summer fishing ban is part of Beijing's efforts to "promote sustainable marine fishery development and improve marine ecology." It is expected to and on August 16.

CHINA PHILIPPINES PHILIPPINES-CHINA TIES SOUTH CHINA SEA WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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