PCG: No evidence China, Vietnam used cyanide in Panatag

Evelyn Macairan - The Philippine Star
PCG: No evidence China, Vietnam used cyanide in Panatag
Screenshot from a video released on Sept. 25, 2023 by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) showing a coast guard personnel cutting a rope attached to a floating barrier blocking the entrance to Scarborough Shoal in the disputed South China Sea.
Philippine Coast Guard

MANILA, Philippines — There is no evidence that Chinese or Vietnamese fishermen destroyed corals and marine resources in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal using cyanide, according to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

“We do not have any scientific study or any evidence that would suggest that the cyanide fishing at Bajo de Masinloc can be attributed to the Chinese or even the Vietnamese fishermen,” PCG-West Philippine Sea spokesman Commodore Jay Tarriela said, referring to Panatag, in an interview with GMA News over the weekend.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) on Feb. 17 said that based on information gathered by the agency’s ground personnel, the illegal activity had already caused extensive damage within the lagoon area.

Meanwhile, China reportedly removed on Feb. 15 the floating barriers that it installed near Bajo de Masinloc after BFAR’s BRP Datu Tamblot completed its mission to provide humanitarian aid to fishermen in the area.

“Based on the satellite images that we are monitoring, they are anticipating that the Philippine government vessels will attempt to enter the lagoon in Bajo de Masinloc,” Tarriela said.

The floating barriers were reportedly installed at the mouth or southeast entrance of the shoal, also on Feb. 15. Two China Coast Guard vessels were also spotted in the shoal.

In September 2023, the PCG removed floating barriers reportedly installed by China.

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