Philippines protests China’s annual fishing ban

May 27, 2024 - 3:36 PM
A Philippine fisherman watches a China Coast Guard vessel patrolling the disputed Scarborough Shoal, April 5, 2017. Picture taken April 5, 2017. (Reuters/Erik De Castro)

The Philippines has protested China’s imposition of a unilateral four-month long fishing ban in the South China Sea, its foreign ministry said on Monday.

The annual imposition of a fishing ban raises tensions in the South China Sea, the foreign ministry said, calling on Beijing to “cease and desist” from “illegal actions” that violate the Philippines‘ sovereignty and sovereign rights.

China imposes an annual fishing ban on South China Sea waters and the Philippines routinely opposes it. This year’s ban is expected to last until September.

The Philippines‘ foreign affairs department (DFA) has protested the ban through a diplomatic note, saying the fishing moratorium covers waters within its maritime zones.

“The Philippines stressed that the unilateral imposition of the fishing moratorium raises tensions in the West Philippine Sea and the South China Sea,” the DFA said in a statement.

China’s embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Philippine Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro last week said China’s rules about how its Coast Guard can operate in the South China were a “provocation”.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, a conduit for more than $3 trillion in annual ship commerce. Its territorial claims overlap with waters claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

In 2016, an international arbitral tribunal said China’s claims had no legal basis, a decision Beijing has rejected.

—Reporting by Mikhail Flores and Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by John Mair