Posts Tagged ‘unregulated fishing’

South China Sea: Philippines Needs To Take Control of Its Own Fishing, Biology Professor says– “Who Cares More About Our Food, Fish and Environment?”

April 24, 2017

THE Philippines may be enjoying close relations with China, but the country must now advance its own fisheries-management policies in the disputed South China Sea (SCS), a research recommended.

In a study by the Stratbase Albert del Rosario Institute, Maria Carmen A. Lagman said the Philippines must reinforce the ruling of the arbitral tribunal on the country’s case against China. Lagman, who is also biology professor at the De La Salle University, said the Philippines must insist on a national and regional fisheries-management agenda in the SCS.

The advocacy, which was aimed at addressing the challenges of food security, environment protection and climate change, would require the Philippines and other countries encircling the SCS to establish transboundary marine parks or areas of joint protection, Lagman wrote in the study, titled “Converging on the Fisheries in the South China Sea”. She added the Philippines and other countries should also bring into discussions other international policy instruments and develop regional-level policies targeted toward small-scale fisheries.

Lagman said these options are becoming more than ever urgent because failure to manage the fisheries in the SCS could lead to exploitation of marine life in the area.

Citing data from another research, Lagman reported fisheries landing in the SCS in 2015 amounted to 10 million tons (MT), which was 12 percent of the total global catch.

Likely underestimated

LAGMAN said “this data is likely to be underestimated” and it might even increase to 16.6 MT if catch from subsistence, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing are included.

Fisheries-trade figures said the SCS contribute 11 MT to 17 MT in traded fisheries catch annually, with a landed value of no less than $12 billion. This translates to over 3 million jobs associated with fishing activities.

“With so much at stake,” Lagman said, “it is no wonder that control of the fisheries [in the SCS] will definitely be a source of economic and political tension.”

However, she argued that other countries with claims over the SCS should also come up with a focused set of policy instruments on small-scale fisheries, which was seen to be the practical alternative to industrial fishing.

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A Filipino fisherman wades from boat to shore with part of the crew’s catch. Fishermen who go to the South China Sea report that their catches have gotten smaller in recent years. PHOTOGRAPH BY ADAM DEAN, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Lagman said small-scale fishers lose income when commercial vessels intrude their fishing areas, as these boats make use of abusive catching tools—trawls, ring nets and purse seines—that virtually harvest all organisms.

The unregulated business of industrial fishing in the SCS led to the collapse in a number of large predatory fish, according to the study. The latter, which include tunas and groupers, are now slowly replaced by smaller fish highly reliant on zooplankton, like the tilapia and crawfish.

Spatially explicit

LAGMAN said overfished stocks would result to the phenomenon known as “fishing down the food web”, highlighted by a reduction in the quality and size of catch.

Lagman surmised the reduction in catch quality and size were already factored in by countries surrounding the SCS, as they have seen a decrease in demersal and pelagic fish stocks over the past decades.

The maximum sustainable yield (MSY) of the Philippines, Vietnam, east Malaysia and southern China has long been exceeded since the late-1980s, the study said. The MSY is seen as the threshold, and hence, immediate and substantial action must be taken to secure the harvested stock. The study said exhaustion of the MSY is reason enough for countries contending over the SCS to discuss the convergence of the fisheries in the area.

“The fish are a common resource for the countries in the SCS,” Lagman said. “Unless effort is taken to accommodate the transboundary nature of the resources, managing them would not be effective.”

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China:  A dock worker uses a mallet to dislodge frozen tuna aboard a Chinese cargo vessel docked at the city of General Santos in the Philippines. The cargo vessel spends up to two months at sea with a fleet of a dozen tuna boats working to fill its freezer.PHOTOGRAPH BY ADAM DEAN, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

She noted that fisheries policies in many of the disputing countries were almost, if not fully, spatially-explicit.

Citing the Philippines, the country declared some of its key fishing grounds closed seasons for commercial fishing. These included the East Sulu Sea, Basilan Strait and Sibuguey Bay to sardine fishing, selected areas of the Visayan Sea to sardines, herring and mackerels and the West Philippine Sea to Northern Sulu Sea to round scad fishing.

Strategy focus

JUDGING by the oceanographic features of the SCS, Lagman pinpointed the Spratly Islands and the Scarborough Shoal as the sources of the area’s propagules and, therefore, should be the focus of management strategies.

Lagman also raised concern over the effects of pollution, siltation, destructive fishing and eutrophication resulting from human activities on the coastline, as this would contaminate the mangroves, sea grass meadows and coral reefs in the SCS. Already threatened by coastal activities that deposit sediments, nutrients and effluents, the SCS is further jeopardized by destructive fishing practices that make use of trawls, push nets, dynamite and poison.

In addition, about $5.3 trillion of trade courses through the SCS every year, with the aspiration that no accident will occur, such as the Guimaras oil spill in 2006, when a tanker carrying 2 million liters of bunker fuel sank at the Guimaras Strait, damaging biodiversity-rich areas in the Philippines.

This is why the aggression of China on Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands is a cause of concern for biologists, as Beijing was seen building seven new islands in the area by moving sediment from the seafloor to the reef.

“Reefs have been destroyed outright to serve as foundations for these new islands, causing long-term extensive damage to the environment,” Lagman added.



 (Philippine Star)

 — From March 25, 2017 with links to other related articles


 (National Geographic on the South China Sea)


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China’s Tian Jing Hao – Cutter suction dredger — Used to destroy South China Sea coral reefs to provide dredge material for new man made- islands — an environmental disaster

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The End of an era?  Fishermen work to unload a net full of anchovies during a fishing expedition in the Pacific Ocean. Photo AP


Philippines, Indonesia to revive bilateral accord amid concerns over illegal fishing

May 23, 2015


The Indonesian navy scuttles foreign fishing vessels caught fishing illegally in Indonesian waters near Bitung, North Sulawesi on May 20, 2015 in the is photo taken by Antara Foto. China on Thursday, May 21, expressed “serious concern” over the blowing up of a Chinese fishing vessel seized by Indonesia six years ago, the first such incident under President Joko Widodo. Reuters photo

Indonesia had started to tighten its policies against illegal fishing amid continued concerns over poaching by fishermen from neighbouring countries

Gulf News


Manila: The Philippines and Indonesia are engaged in talks that could revive a bilateral fishing agreement between the two countries as concerns are raised over unabated illegal fishing in the region.

According to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, both countries had initially agreed to strengthen cooperation in information exchange and enforcement to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUUF) in their respective territorial waters and fishing grounds.

A bilateral fishing agreement between Indonesia and the Philippines expired in 2006 and the two countries are now in a rush to secure their fishing grounds from intruders.

Alcala had met with Susi Pudjiastuti, Indonesia’s Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), while he was in Jakarta recently to attend the World Economic Forum.

Alcala said the Indonesian official agreed to his suggestion to have both sides convene a technical working group that will meet “at the soonest possible time” to flesh out the issues, including the concerns of Filipino-owned fishing companies in Indonesia regarding MMAF’s strict enforcement of its policies and regulations.

Indonesia had started to tighten its policies against illegal fishing amid continued concerns over poaching by fishermen from neighbouring countries.

Last May 20, Indonesian maritime authorities scuttled 41 fishing vessels caught illegally operating in the countries’ waters.

The vessels that were scuttled include those that fly the flag of the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand as well as China.

The vessels, which were rounded up in several maritime law enforcement activities by Indonesian authorities, were rigged with explosive charges and detonated in seas off Bitung, Pontianak, West Kilamanta, Belawan, North Sumatra, Pidie Aceh and Ranai, Rau Islands, Antara, the government-run Indonesian news service reported.

Director General of Supervision of Fisheries and Marine Resources Asep Burhanudin, said the foreign fishing vessels were scuttled upon orders from President Joko Widodo.

IUU fishing is a major concern in the region as well as globally.

With depleting fish stocks and tightening competition among privately-run entities engaged in fishing, countries with large fishing areas are in increasing need to tighten regulations against illegal or IUU fishing.

Earlier this year, Pudjiastuti announced she would not issue new licenses to foreign fishing companies to protect the country’s territorial waters and fishing grounds from illegal fishing.

Earlier, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) urged countries to take steps against IUU fishing amid concerns that unabated illegal fishing practices would impact on the world’s fish supply.

“The Western Pacific Region is important because it is the home of more than half of the world’s tuna stocks,” European Commissioner Maria Damanaki of the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, earlier said.

Image: Chinese fishing vessels are seen anchored at Fiery Cross Reef — part of the Spratly islands — and under the watchful eye of China’s navy. There is a huge economic aspect of China’s interest in the South China Sea. Immense reserves of petroleum and natural gas are below the South China Sea and the sea itself is teeming with marine life and other foods valuable to the Chinese. The islands in this region are claimed partially or in their entirety by Taiwan, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines and Brunei. AFP photo


Indonesia’s Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Orders a Crackdown on Illegal Chinese Fishing

February 28, 2015

By Nani Afrida, The Jakarta Post

Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti was in no better place on Wednesday to vent her anger when it comes to the Navy’s apparent lack of enthusiasm for cracking down on foreign poachers.


At the headquarters of the Navy’s Western Fleet in Central Jakarta, the outspoken minister told reporters about a seemingly untouchable Chinese fishing vessel that appeared to operate freely despite the revocation of its license in 2013. The Fu Yuan Yu 80 was caught on the radar of Susi’s office on Tuesday operating off the northern coast of Jakarta, with no sign that the Navy intended to detain the ship despite knowing its location.

“It [the ship’s continued operation] is an extraordinary example of abuse of the NKRI [the Unitary State of Indonesia],” said Susi after attending the inauguration of Western Fleet commander Rear Admiral Taufiqurrahman.


“I hope the Navy and the PSDKP [the Maritime and Fisheries Monitoring Task Force] can detain the vessel as soon as possible today [Wednesday],” urged Susi, who uses Army personnel as her security detail. According to Susi, the vessel is operated by an Indonesian firm PT. Antartica, which is part of the same group used by the Chinese operators of the MV Hai Fa.

The MV Hai Fa was seized in December and is the biggest ship the ministry has yet captured. The ministry seized the 4,306-ton vessel on suspicion that it was conducting illicit practices in Indonesian territorial waters. It was seized with the assistance of the Navy on Dec. 27.

The ship and its 24-man crew, all Chinese nationals, was chartered by Indonesian fishery companies to export goods to China. Navy spokesperson Commodore Manahan Simorangkir said the Navy had ordered a hunt for the Fu Yuan Yu 80.

“The field command is attempting to find the vessel now,” Manahan said. In December, the Navy sought to capture 22 Chinese vessels, but only eight were actually caught.

The failure has raised questions about the Navy’s commitment to safeguarding the country’s territory. Indonesia is taking a tough stance against China in its fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, by confiscating Chinese vessels and ending privileges granted to China to fish in Indonesian waters.

The government has revoked a deal signed with China in 2013 that gave Chinese fishermen advantages over other countries fishing in Indonesian waters. After President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo took office on Oct. 20, Indonesia upped the ante in its battle against illegal fishing by capturing many vessels from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, China, Taiwan and Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Citing an annual loss of more than US$2 billion to foreign poachers, Indonesia has sunk more than a dozen vessels from Vietnam, Thailand, PNG and Malaysia. The government has sunk no Chinese vessels yet as it is still awaiting court decisions determining whether the vessels violated the law. –

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Editors Note: Early in December 2014, Indonesia carried out a threat and sank a Vietnamese fishing boat but it has not effectively rid itself of Chinese fishermen as of now.

See: Indonesia May Sink Chinese Vessels: Jokowi Adviser

Indonesia sinks Vietnamese boats to stop illegal fishing

JAKARTA (AFP) – Indonesia blew up and sank three empty Vietnamese boats Friday, the navy said, as the world s biggest archipelago nation pushes to stop foreigners from illegally fishing in its waters.


An Indonesian warship launches rounds of missiles during the celebration of the 69th anniversary of the Indonesian armed forces in Surabaya in eastern Java i...

An Indonesian warship launches rounds of missiles during the celebration of the 69th anniversary of the Indonesian armed forces in Surabaya in eastern Java island on October 7, 2014 ©Juni Kriswanto (AFP/File)