Posts Tagged ‘fishing’

Kenya’s empty nets: How cheap Chinese fish imports have hooked buyers

April 18, 2018
Kenyan fisherman pull up their nets in the early morning as they fish on Lake Victoria.

Story highlights

  • Perch, tilapia declined by 20% to 30%
  • Cheap frozen imported fish from China
  • Kenya companies turn to fish farming

(CNN)With nets in hand and the boat’s motor chugging along on still waters, dozens of fishermen set out to Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, at the crack of dawn.

It’s a scene that’s been repeated for generations.
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Fishing is the mainstay of lake-side communities in Kenya. It has fueled the economy and provided employment for decades, but these days overfishing, a lack of infrastructure and cheap Chinese imports have hit the industry hard.
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“In the last 20 to 30 years, perch and tilapia catches have declined 60% to 80% throughout this region,” said Joseph Rehmann, co-founder and CEO of Victory Farms. At the same time Kenya’s population has roughly doubled to nearly 50 million.
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Kenyan fisherman Charles Otieno told CNN: “It’s a trend that’s been happening for a long time.”

Superpower fish

Marketplace Africa Kenya China fish trade A_00000225
Competing with cheaper fish imports 05:15
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Kenya’s fish stocks have been ailing and its main competitor is China, one of the world’s largest economies and leading fish producers.
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The increased demand from Kenya’s fish-hungry population means the country is relying on frozen farmed imports.
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“We know that the demand in Africa is very big,” Ling Wang, executive vice president at agricultural firm Baiyang Investment Group, which exports to Kenya, told CNN.
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A collection of tilapias. A popular fish in Kenya.

In 2016, China exported roughly $30 million of fish to Kenya — double the year before.
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“It’s a good thing that we have fish coming in to fill in the gap, the deficit that we have. But on the other hand, we have to compete in terms of production and either lower the cost or increase our volumes so that we can avail fish to our communities,” said former Kenyan Fisheries Secretary Charles Ngugi, who now runs his own fish farm.

Local consumers

Women sell dried fish at the Kawangware market on the outskirts of Nairobi.

Despite China being thousands of kilometers from Kenya, intensive, large-scale farming, and a willingness to keep prices low, even at a loss, means Chinese fish are often considerably cheaper than local offerings.
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“If you can get a fish from China, one piece is selling at 150 shillings ($1.5) per kilo while we sell at 400 shillings ($4). It is a very big challenge because people will always go with the cheaper things,” Kenyan fisherman and trader Maurice Muma told CNN.
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Kenya’s fishing industry has started looking to fish farming to increase competitiveness with Chinese companies.
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Victory Farms, is fish farming enterprise based in Kenya, was founded in 2015 and harvests 80 to 100 tons of fish per month.
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“The Kenyan fisheries of the regions where we operate is currently harvesting two tons per year from hundreds and hundreds of fishermen, whereas at Victory Farms we are able to pull five to 10 tons on any given day,” Rehmann said.
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However, industrial fish farming has been criticized because of the negative impact it can have on the ecosystem, health and the environment, if not done sustainably.
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Victory Farms says it is committed to farming fish in the same water for years to come.
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However, it is likely to take more than fish farming to solve Kenya’s fishing deficit. Unlike China, Kenya has to import most of its fish feed.

Cold chain infrastructure

Marketplace Africa Kenya cold chain fish industry A_00025022

Additionally, Kenya’s fishing industry lacks a cold chain infrastructure — a supply chain, from source to sale, that keeps fish fresh and cool.
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“The quality of the fish will be degraded by not being properly preserved,” Rehmann said.
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An inadequate power network is also preventing the cold chain system from working.
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“Ice needs power and power is not, let’s say, consistent in this part of the world,” said Steve Moran, co-founder and COO of Victory Farms.
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While the heyday of Lake Victoria’s fishing boom in the 1980s and 1990s is a way off, better environmental protections and infrastructure could help restore the fishing industry.
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“This lake is presently undeveloped, but as it begins to develop environmental protection — keeping diseases out, keeping foreign fish out is a very important part of the long-term sustainability of aquaculture,” Rehmann said.
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UK fishermen launch nationwide protests over Brexit

April 8, 2018

AFP

© AFP | A woman dressed as Britannia, poses as a flotilla of fishing vessels passes under Newcastle’s Millennium Bridge, kicking off a protest against a deal that would see Britain continue to adhere, for now, to the Common Fisheries Policy

LONDON (AFP) – British fishermen launched protests in ports around the country Sunday over perceived capitulation to the European Union in Brexit negotiations.Organisers estimated as many as 200 vessels could participate in the day-long nationwide action, forming flotillas bearing flags and sounding horns as people also demonstrate on docksides.

“Fishermen and fishing communities are enraged that the government has capitulated to Britain having to obey all EU law after Brexit,” said the pro-Brexit organising group Fishing for Leave, in a statement.

“Fishermen fear the EU will be able to enforce ill-founded rules to cull the British fleet and use international law to claim the resources the UK would no longer be able to catch.”

Protests began in Newcastle, where a 15-boat flotilla assembled Sunday morning, before others mustered in Milford Haven, Wales, and Plymouth, southwest England, later in the day.

Further demonstrations were set for other sites, including Whitstable, Kent, where up to 40 vessels are expected and organisers plan to burn a disused boat in a shore-side bonfire during the evening.

“I think this is going to draw attention — we want our voice heard,” said Brendon Hall, 21, of Teignmouth, Devon, who followed his father into the industry four years ago and had sailed to Plymouth to protest.

“The main part of the leave campaign was leaving the CFP (Common Fisheries Policy) but we’re staying in with no veto and no say,” he added, referring to the 2016 referendum that saw Britons vote for Brexit.

A draft deal struck with the EU last month will effectively keep Britain bound by the CFP — which ensures equal access to member states’ waters and sets quotas on catch — during a 20-month transition period following its formal departure from the bloc on March 29 next year.

Fishing for Leave spokesman Alan Hastings said the agreement was a “death sentence” for the industry, “as the EU will be free to enforce and impose detrimental rules on us to cull what’s left of the UK fleet.”

A petition posted on the British parliament’s website calling on the Government to abandon adopting the CFP post-Brexit has garnered more than 61,000 petitions.

After 100,000 signatures, a petition is considered for debate in the House of Commons.

The government has insisted Britain will be leaving the CFP when it departs the EU, and will negotiate a new fisheries policy independently from December 2020.

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The fishing industry represents just 0.4 percent of Britain’s GDP, according to 2016 statistics.

Philippines says in talks with China state firm on joint sea exploration

March 1, 2018

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China has militarized the South China Sea — even though they have no legal clame. This is Mischief Reef, now an extensive Chinese military base — one of seven Chinese military bases near the Philippines

MANILA (AFP) – The Philippines said Thursday it is in talks with a Chinese state firm for joint South China Sea energy resource exploration and extraction, in a proposed deal described by President Rodrigo Duterte as akin to “co-ownership” of contested areas.

The two countries have long been embroiled in a bitter dispute over their competing claims to the region — with China claiming nearly the entire sea — but Duterte has in recent years softened his predecessors’ policy of opposing Beijing’s claims.

Duterte said Wednesday an arrangement to turn two of the rival claimants virtual joint owners of the strategic and supposedly oil and gas-rich sea was preferable to the “massacre” of Filipino troops in a war with China.

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Chinese bases near the Philippines

“Now their (Beijing’s) offer is joint exploration, which is like co-ownership. It’s like the two of us would be the owners. I think that’s better than fighting,” he said during a visit to the war-torn southern city of Marawi.

Negotiations between the Philippines and China over South China Sea exploration were raised last month by Filipino Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque provided more detail Thursday, specifying that talks were underway between the Philippines’ energy department and an unnamed Chinese state firm, and that extraction of energy resources was now on the table.

He did not specify which specific area of the sea was under discussion.

Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also claim all or part of the sea. Proposed cooperation between Manila and Beijing has caused alarm among neighbouring Southeast Asian countries in the past.

“We might enter into an agreement with a Chinese-owned corporation, not the Chinese state itself,” Roque said in an interview aired on ABS-CBN television, adding the company he declined to name was state-owned.

“I know that they’re discussing, they’re moving forward and it’s likely to happen,” he added without giving a timetable or the exact terms of the proposed deal.

“This will now actually entail joint exploration and possible exploitation of natural resources.”

– ‘Alternative sources’ –

Duterte’s willingness to cooperate with China marks a turnaround from predecessor Benigno Aquino’s stance accusing Beijing of encroaching, occupying, and building structures on reefs and rocks that Manila claims as part of its exclusive economic zone.

Aquino won an international arbitration tribunal ruling in 2016 invalidating Beijing’s claims, but Duterte set aside the ruling while courting investments and trade from the Philippines’ giant neighbour, the world’s second-largest economy.

Cayetano said last month that Manila would consult legal experts to make sure any accord would not infringe on Philippine sovereign rights.

“It’s not that we have no choice. We can go back and say, ‘Fine, no one benefits from the resources now’. But come on, we’re trying to look for alternative sources of energy,” Roque said Thursday.

He said Filipino firms could not do it on their own and would need Chinese capital, while noting that “when a Filipino company attempted to explore on its own they were met by Chinese warboats (gunboats).”

He was referring to a 2011 incident when Manila said Chinese patrol boats harassed a seismic survey vessel chartered by a unit of a Philippine mining company at Philippine-claimed Reed Bank in the South China Sea.

© 2018 AFP

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From Rappler

Why it matters: The 1987 Constitution states that resources within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) must be reserved for Filipinos. The West Philippine Sea is a portion of the larger South China Sea which falls within the country’s EEZ and continental shelf.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, an expert on maritime law, has said the Constitution bans “joint development ” within the country’s EEZ.

While the government can tap a private company as a contractor to extract resources within the EEZ, there can be no state-to-state joint development, he said.

Cause for concern? Duterte’s use of the term “co-ownership” could be a cause for concern given that the West Philippine Sea and its resources are supposed to be exclusively for Filipinos.

China’s claim to the West Philippine Sea was invalidated by the Permanent Court of Aribtration in the Hague, Netherlands, back in 2016. Beijing, however, has chosen to ignore the ruling.

Duterte also used the term “co-ownership” after joking that it would be better if China declares the Philippines as one of its provinces, a remark widely condemned by lawmakers and citizens. Rappler.com

https://www.rappler.com/nation/197108-duterte-likens-joint-exploration-china-co-ownership

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We’ve heard 白痴國家 (Means “Idiot Nation”)

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China has long had its eye on James Shoal and may move toward the island unless Malaysia or Indonesia protest…

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

South China Sea: Philippine President says Joint exploration with China like ‘co-ownership’ — Philippines as China’s Newest Province? — What do Filipinos get?

February 28, 2018

Rappler

‘It’s like two of us own that. That’s better than fighting,’ says President Rodrigo Duterte about China’s offer for joint exploration in the West Philippine Sea

Published 5:35 PM, February 28, 2018
Updated 5:40 PM, February 28, 2018

PARTNERING WITH CHINA. President Rodrigo Duterte wants to push through with joint exploration in the West Philippine Sea with China. Malacañang photo

PARTNERING WITH CHINA. President Rodrigo Duterte wants to push through with joint exploration in the West Philippine Sea with China. Malacañang photo

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte likened joint exploration with China in the West Philippine Sea to “co-ownership” in a speech on Wednesday, February 28, in Marawi City.

Ngayon, offer nila, eh di joint exploration. Eh di parang co-ownership, parang dalawa tayong may-ari niyan, eh di mas maganda ‘yan kaysa away,” he told an audience of Marawi residents and government officials. (They offered joint exploration. So that’s like co-ownership, it’s like two of us own that. That’s better than fighting.)

The Philippine president didn’t distinguish if he meant co-ownership of the West Philippine Sea or of the resources found in it, such as oil.

Duterte hailed China’s joint exploration offer as proof that his foreign relations strategy with them succeeded in bringing benefits to the Philippines.

Kita mo, eh kung inasar ko noon, pinagpu-putang ina ko sila, wala nangyari,” he said. (See, if I annoyed them before, called them sons of bitches, nothing would have happened.)

Why it matters: The 1987 Constitution states that resources within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) must be reserved for Filipinos. The West Philippine Sea is a portion of the larger South China Sea which falls within the country’s EEZ and continental shelf.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, an expert on maritime law, has said the Constitution bans “joint development ” within the country’s EEZ.

While the government can tap a private company as a contractor to extract resources within the EEZ, there can be no state-to-state joint development, he said.

Cause for concern? Duterte’s use of the term “co-ownership” could be a cause for concern given that the West Philippine Sea and its resources are supposed to be exclusively for Filipinos.

China’s claim to the West Philippine Sea was invalidated by the Permanent Court of Aribtration in the Hague, Netherlands, back in 2016. Beijing, however, has chosen to ignore the ruling.

Duterte also used the term “co-ownership” after joking that it would be better if China declares the Philippines as one of its provinces, a remark widely condemned by lawmakers and citizens. – Rappler.com

https://www.rappler.com/nation/197108-duterte-likens-joint-exploration-china-co-ownership

Related:

We’ve heard 白痴國家 (Means “Idiot Nation”)

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China has long had its eye on James Shoal and may move toward the island unless Malaysia or Indonesia protest…

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No automatic alt text available.

China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

Philippines government on China buildup on PH reef: What do you want us to do? — Malacañang portrays itself as helpless in the face of China — Not a violation of China’s “good faith commitment.” — Really? — Something is fishy…

February 5, 2018

(UPDATED) Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque again downplays continued militarization by China of artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea

Published 3:05 PM, February 05, 2018
Updated 3:39 PM, February 05, 2018

DUTERTE AND CHINA. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is given a tour inside the Chinese Navy vessel Chang Chun where he was able to see the armaments, the deck, the bridge navigation system, and operations room command and control system. Malacañang file photo

DUTERTE AND CHINA. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is given a tour inside the Chinese Navy vessel Chang Chun where he was able to see the armaments, the deck, the bridge navigation system, and operations room command and control system. Malacañang file photo

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Malacañang, on Monday, February 5, portrayed itself as helpless in the face of China’s continued construction on Panganiban Reef (Mischief Reef), a reef that belongs to the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“If the Aquino administration was not able to do anything about these artificial islands, what do they want us to do?” asked Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque during a Palace news briefing.

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 Philippine Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

He was asked what the Philippine government intends to do about the new structures built by China on the reef located in the Spratlys which the Permanent Court of Arbitration, through a landmark ruling, affirmed belongs to the Philippines.

Photos show the reclaimed reef now has a concrete runway, two radomes for radar equipment, two hangars, and a control tower.

Roque said the reclamation of the reefs in the Spratlys began during the administration of Benigno Aquino III and that the government had already known then of China’s plan to build military structures on them.

“I think whether or not we like it, they intended to use them as military bases. So, what do you want us to say? All that we could do is to extract a promise from China not to reclaim any new artificial islands,” said President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman.

Asked if the Philippines intends to file a diplomatic protest against China, Roque was evasive.

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China’s man-made Subi Reef in the Spratly chain of islands in the South China Sea, shows Chinese military construction

“In the first place, it did not happen overnight. I think the previous administration must have filed also a protest, when it became apparent that they were going to be used as military bases,” he said.

Roque insisted that the only red flag for Malacañang is if China creates more artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea.

This despite Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana saying a month ago that even just military buildup on existing artificial islands is a violation of China’s promise.

“I know for a fact that the Chinese government said some time ago that they are not going to militarize those reclaimed islands,” said Lorenzana last January 8.

If it is true and we can prove that they have been putting soldiers and weapons, then it will be a violation of what they said,” he added.

Asked to explain the discrepancy between his remarks and that of the defense chief, Roque said he can only speak for Duterte and not for other Cabinet members.

Options outside of war

This is the second time Roque has downplayed new Chinese construction in the West Philippine Sea. In early January, he also said the transformation of Kagitingan Reef (Fiery Cross Reef) into a Chinese air base was not a violation of China’s “good faith commitment.”

During the Monday briefing, Roque wondered out loud what else the Duterte administration could do in the face of China’s continued construction on reclaimed reefs. He even asked reporters present for suggestions since declaring war against China is “impossible.”

Supreme Court (SC) Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio had previously outlined 5 steps the Duterte administration could take to deter China’s activities in the West Philippine Sea without going to war.

One of these steps is to file a diplomatic protest. Another is to send the Philippine Navy to patrol features in the EEZ.

Carpio also said the Philippines could ask for the assistance of the United States, possibly in the form of joint naval patrols. He also advised the government to avoid any act or statement that expressly or impliedly waives Philippine sovereignty to any Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea. (READ: Why Justice Carpio wants China to read his e-book)

Asked about Carpio’s criticism of the Duterte administration’s decision to trust China’s word on its activities in the West Philippine Sea, Roque said it would be better for Carpio to write a relevant court decision or to run for a post in government.

“He could run [for] an elective, legislative position if he wants to make policy for government,” said Roque. – Rappler.com

https://www.rappler.com/nation/195287-malacanang-china-buildup-mischief-reef-west-philippine-sea

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China has no greater rights than any other in the sea. China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

Philippines and the South China Sea: ‘Well-intentioned but naive’

February 4, 2018

US-based analyst Gregory Poling explains why he views the Duterte administration’s West Philippine Sea policy as

By
Rappler
February 04, 2018

MANILA, Philippines – Rappler talks to Gregory Poling, one of the world’s leading experts on the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea, as he makes a two-day trip to the Philippines for a series of talks and meetings.

Poling is the director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) based in Washington DC. AMTI is the group that regularly publishes satellite images of the South China Sea.

In this Rappler Talk interview, Poling explains why he views the Duterte administration’s policy on the West Philippine Sea as “well-intentioned but naive.”

Watch the full Rappler Talk interview here. – Rappler.com

https://www.rappler.com/nation/195096-rappler-talk-csis-gregory-poling-west-philippine-sea-south-china-sea

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China has no greater rights than any other in the sea. China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

French fishermen blockade Calais over electric pulse fishing — “The Dutch have wrecked the sea. There are no more fish.”

January 25, 2018

AFP

© AFP / by Julia PAVESI with Clare BYRNE in Paris | A protest against pulse fishing ground Calais, France’s busiest passenger port, caused delays for travellers and hauliers on both sides of the Channel

CALAIS (FRANCE) (AFP) – French fishermen protesting losses caused by electric pulse fishing in the North Sea blockaded the port of Calais on Thursday, backing up traffic on one of Europe’s busiest shipping routes.A dozen fishing trawlers blocked access to the quayside in Calais, France’s biggest passenger port, causing delays for travellers and hauliers on the other side of the Channel.

“The Port of Calais is closed due to the French fisherman blockade. Currently no ships movements in the port,” British ferry company P&O tweeted.

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Pulse fishing involves fitting nets with electrodes and pulling them above the seabed. The electric current sends shocks through the sediment, forcing the fish up out of the sand into the trawler’s nets.

The method is widely used by Dutch vessels fishing for sole, raising the hackles of the French, who say it harms fish stocks, even though less than one percent of European trawlers use it.

“The Dutch have wrecked the sea. There are no more fish,” said Christian Dubois, the Calais-based representative of a fishing industry body.

A spokeswoman for P&O said two car ferries were waiting in the English port of Dover to cross and two others were stuck in Calais.

Danish shipping company DFDS, which also runs ferries between France and Britain, said two of its vessels were delayed in Dover and one in Calais.

The fishermen eventually accepted to allow one ferry through towards England every hour, a source in the port authority said.

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Fishermen are angry

P&O was directing some customers towards the Channel tunnel while DFDS was rerouting some of its ferries through the French port of Dunkirk, about 30 kilometres (20 miles) north of Calais.

Access to Boulogne-sur-Mer, France’s biggest fishing port, about 30 kilometres southwest of Calais, was also disrupted.

Two French trawlers blockaded access to the part of the port where Dutch vessels unload their catches and a dozen fishermen blocked a main road leading to the port.

DFDS France’s director of operations, Sebastien Douvry, warned that the blockade in Calais would leave truckers vulnerable to migrants who mob lorries and try to climb aboard in order to smuggle into Britain.

– Culinary cause celebre –

Pulse fishing has become a cause celebre in France, prompting a boycott by 200 top European chefs of seafood netted using the technique.

French environmentalists allege that pulse fishing produces catches of poor quality and leaves the fish bruised — claims disputed by the Dutch, who invented the experimental trawling method.

Dubois demanded 30,000 euros in state aid per French trawler over three years to offset the alleged impact on fish stocks.

European institutions are at odds over the issue, with the EU’s commissioner for fisheries arguing that the use of electric currents is safer for the environment than methods that plough up the seabed.

Under current EU rules, member states can equip up to five percent of their fleets with electrodes.

Some 84 Dutch boats use the practice, alongside three Belgian vessels.

But this month the European Parliament defied Brussels, which wants to extend the practice, by calling for an outright ban.

The parliament, the EU’s only directly elected body, will now try to strike a compromise with the European Commission, the bloc’s executive, and the European Council, which groups the 28 member states.

by Julia PAVESI with Clare BYRNE in Paris

Chinese marine exploration in Philippine waters begins

January 24, 2018
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Weighing 4,711 tons, China Daily described Kexue as a “moving laboratory on the sea” capable of global voyages and all-day observations. Photo from Institute of Oceanology of Chinese Academy of Sciences website

MANILA, Philippines — China’s most sophisticated research ship has arrived in Philippine waters to conduct marine scientific research after securing a permit from the Department of Foreign Affairs, a lawmaker claimed Tuesday.

Rep. Gary Alejano (Magdalo party-list) earlier slammed the DFA  for allowing the Institute of Oceanology of Chinese Academy of Sciences (IO-CAS) to conduct research in waters off Eastern Luzon, where Benham Rise (Philippine Rise) is located, and off Eastern Mindanao.

The Chinese marine exploration will take place on January 24 to February 25 this year.

READ: Alejano: DFA approved Chinese think tank request to study Philippine waters

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang later disclosed that Chinese research vessel “Kexue” will survey Philippine eastern waters.

READ: Chinese ship ‘Kexue’ to conduct research in Philippine waters

In a statement, Alejano said his “sources” informed him that Kexue was at northeast of Palanan, Isabela as of January 23.

He also claimed that the research ship entered the Philippine territory on January 22, “two days early from the granted duration” of the sea exploration.

“What we should make sure now is the compliance of China to all the requirements demanded by the Philippine government as conditions to the permit issued,” Alejano pointed out.

“In particular, we should be wary on the sharing of information that will be culled from the said expedition. Filipino scientists on board should be given equal access to all results of the research activity,” he added.

The $87.5-million Kexue was handed over to IO-CAS in 2012, newspaper China Daily reported.

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Ocean research by Tara Oceans of France was denied by the Philippine government

Weighing 4,711 tons, China Daily described Kexue as a “moving laboratory on the sea” capable of global voyages and all-day observations.

The Chinese researchers will be joined by the University of the Philippines – Marine Science Institute “as a requirement.”

In 2012, the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf approved the Philippines’ undisputed claim to the Benham Rise.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier signed an Executive Order officially renaming Benham Rise to “Philippine Rise” to assert the country’s sovereignty there following reports that Chinese research vessels were spotted surveying the area in 2016.

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A Chinese bomber flies over Scarborough Shoal last year

Malacañang had sought to defend the Philippine government’s approval of the Chinese marine exploration, saying Filipinos can’t conduct research in Benham Rise without the help of Beijing because such an activity is “capital intensive.”

But Alejano refuted the Palace’s statement, arguing that “it is not because our scientists do not have the ability to conduct research. It is because the government does not allot sufficiently for it.”

For his part, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano had said the law gives equal chance to foreign countries to study Philippine waters as long as there are Filipinos on board.

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Foreign marine researchers must also share their findings and data with their Filipino counterparts, Cayetano added.

In a move to dispel claims over the Duterte administration’s alleged bias toward China, the country’s top diplomat also on Tuesday said the DFA approved 13 applications from the US, nine from Japan, and four from South Korea to do research in Benham Rise.

READ: DFA OKs Benham Rise study by US, Japan, Korea

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/01/24/1780920/alejano-chinese-research-ship-kexue-has-arrived-study-philippine-waters

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

Philippines: Japanese security expert backs Judge Carpio on Permanent Court of Arbitration, South China Sea, Benham Rise

January 19, 2018
By: – Reporter / @MRamosINQ
 / 10:05 AM January 19, 2018
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China research ship Ke Xue.  Maritime scientific exploration is usually done by a soverien nation with rights to the sea area subject to research. When an outside nation is brought in to research, an extensive legal agreemnent is usually required to protect the sovereign owner’s rights. What is the Philippine Agreement with China — or has some underhanded deal or bribes set up the current state of affairs?

TOKYO – Supreme Court (SC) Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio was right in insisting that the Philippines should deny China access to the Philippine Rise if Beijing continued to reject a United Nations-backed arbitral court ruling honoring Manila’s sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea, a leading Japanese international security expert said.

At the same time, Professor Ken Jimbo of the Keio University’s Faculty of Policy Management backed Carpio’s argument that Beijing should respect the landmark July 2016 decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague whether China liked it or not.

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SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH A diver explores the seabed of Benham Rise believed to be rich in marine resources and underwater minerals. —INQUIRER PHOTO

The magistrate, who has made the Philippines’ ownership claims over portions of the South China Sea his personal advocacy, contradicted Malacañang’s position that China’s recognition or non-recognition of the PCA verdict was immaterial.

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President Duterte

“The Philippines has a clear legal judgment on what could be allowed and what could not be allowed (under the international law),” Jimbo told visiting foreign journalists here on Thursday.

“And that is not based purely on the Philippine interpretation of where is the red line, but there’s an internationally-recognized legal red line. That’s the strength of the PCA,” he also said.

Jimbo even added: “I do agree with (Carpio) in trying to manage the issue and I hope to see the consistency (that) every decision the Philippines will make… should be based on the PCA ruling. I wish to see the Philippines maintain the status of the PCA (decision).”

Early this week, Carpio labeled as “dumb” the Duterte administration’s decision to let a Chinese vessel conduct a supposed marine scientific research in the Philippine Rise, internationally known as Benham Rise, since China has maintained its intransigence not to recognize the arbitral ruling.

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The United Nations (UN) had already ruled that the rise, believed to be rich in oil and marine resources, was part of the Philippine continental shelf in 2012 and awarded the Philippines sovereign rights to explore and exploit resources on the submerged plateau.

In March last year, President Duterte admitted that he had authorized Chinese survey vessels to enter the Philippine Rise as part of an agreement.

But Carpio said the Philippines should not let China avail its rights under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) for its refusal to heed the international law in its entirety.

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“By refusing to accept the award of the… arbitral tribunal pursuant to the dispute settlement provisions of Unclos, China is not accepting its obligation under Unclos,” he said. “China is cherry-picking and not taking Unclos as one package deal.”

In response, Palace spokesperson Harry Roque said Mr. Duterte’s decision to let Beijing explore the rise, a 13-million-hectare underwater plateau in the Philippine Sea just 250 kilometers east of Isabela province, was irrelevant with the issue over the West Philippine Sea.

“Science is science,” Roque said. “Science knows nationalities and the requirement is Philippine scientists must also participate in the scientific exercise and the results must be shared with Philippine authorities.”

Interestingly, Roque had previously been very vocal against Beijing’s intrusion into Philippine waters until he was designated by the Chief Executive as his official mouthpiece a few months ago.

Jimbo, who has done researches and studies on security policies in the Asia-Pacific region, noted that Japan had been supportive of the Philippines’ efforts to secure a legally-binding solution to the territorial dispute in the South China Sea, which also involved Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan.

When asked how to best counter China’s hardheadedness in complying with the arbitral court ruling, Jimbo said the international community should continue to rally behind the Philippines.

“I think it (PCA ruling) has been very much politicised in a way… The international community needs to congratulate what the Philippines has done so far,” he said. “It was a very rare case in international society that the PCA made a judgment on a very specific legal issue in the South China Sea.”

He said that although it may be a bitter pill to swallow, Mr. Duterte should rethink his policy of veering away from the United States militarily while increasing the Philippine engagement with China on economic matters.

“If you look at the wider perspective of the security architecture in the region, the US engagement not only in Northeast Asia, but also in (Southeast Asia), is still the platform in creating the basic kind of structure of deterrence and response capability,” Jimbo reiterated.

With China’s rapid rise as an economic superpower, its annual defense budget had eclipsed Japan’s military spending in the past several years, making Beijing a force to reckon with in the whole Asian region, according to Jimbo.

“Obviously, US has lot of fluctuation in engagement, but we cannot really replace the role of the US. We can engage in Philippine maritime security, but not in replacing the role of the US,” he said.

Moreover, the Japanese security expert said the Duterte administration may reconsider its decision to take on China and the South China Sea issue unilaterally.

“I think President Duterte and his team may come back to the logic that it’s not about what the US thinks, but it’s about the multinational platform (that must) co-exist with (his) China policy,” he said.

“The Philippine government has the comprehensive understanding on how to deal with them… I hope that those kind of ‘black-and-white’ type of engagement with China should be moderated. Otherwise, China will likely to penetrate into that logic,” he continued. /kga

Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/163488/japanese-security-expert-backs-carpio-philippine-rise-issue#ixzz54fA9v5Ps
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http://globalnation.inquirer.net/163408/cayetano-defends-granting-china-research-access-benham-rise

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

China is again exploiting the Philippines

January 18, 2018

Opinion

By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star)

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MANILA, Philippines — China is again exploiting the goodwill of the Philippine government to conduct studies in Philippine seas to discover more areas rich in minerals and gas, a lawmaker warned yesterday.

In a statement, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate cautioned the public that with the Duterte administration’s friendly approach to the Chinese, Beijing is using the same modus operandi it employed during the Arroyo administration.

Zarate reminded the public about the Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) of Beijing in 2005, wherein Philippine    official position in the disputed West Philippine Sea “jeopardized our claims in the Recto Reed Bank” near the waters off Palawan.

He warned that the JMSU during the Arroyo administration “is bound to happen again in the case of Benham Rise.”

Benham Rise is part of the Philippines’ continental shelf awarded by the United Nations in 2012, which provides Manila the exclusive sovereign rights over it. The area is believed to be rich in minerals and gas.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) should rethink its decision to allow Chinese oceanographers to conduct studies in Philippine waters because it is one of the methods they used before under the JMSU that China entered with the Arroyo administration,” Zarate said.

Read more at http://beta.philstar.com/headlines/2018/01/15/1777874/chinese-research-benham-rise-slammed#xsQJHeZhvqdsG7lZ.99

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