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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

China's fishing moratorium includes areas outside their EEZ

Philippines files another protest over China’s fishing moratorium

MANILA – The Department of Foreign Affairs said the Philippines does not recognize China’s unilateral imposition of a fishing moratorium in the South China Sea which began last May 1 to August 16,2021.

In a statement released Tuesday evening, the DFA said China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said the ban covers “waters north of 12 degrees north latitude” in the South China Sea. These waters include areas over which the Philippines has sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction.

Citing Paragraph 716 of the Award of the South China Sea Arbitration released on July 12,2016, China, by promulgating its moratorium on fishing in the South China Sea, “without exception for areas of the South China Sea falling within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines and without limiting the moratorium to Chinese flagged vessels, breached Article 56 of the 1982 UNCLOS with respect to the Philippines’ sovereign rights over and the living resources of its exclusive economic zone.” The 2016 Arbitral Award affirmed the traditional and legitimate fishing rights of Filipino fishermen.

The DFA said China’s annual fishing moratorium extends “far beyond” China’s legitimate maritime entitlements per UNCLOS and is without basis under international law. China cannot legally impose nor legally enforce such a moratorium in the West Philippine Sea.

According to the statement, the Philippines “strongly urges China to desist from any action and activity that infringes on Philippine sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction, in contravention of international law.” (Melo M. Acuña)

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