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Philippines ready to nab illegal fishers with end of China ban

The Philippines is ready to apprehend illegal fishers who will venture into its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone after the end of China's fishing ban in the South China Sea, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Friday.

According to JP Soriano's report on "24 Oras," there is now a concern that Chinese fishing fleets will enter Philippine waters and its EEZ with the end of China's fishing ban which also covered the West Philippine Sea.

"The Philippines is ready to take law enforcement measures on illegal fishing activities in its waters," DFA spokesperson Ambassador Teresita Daza said on Friday.

According to the DFA, the fishing ban imposed by China from May 1 to August 16 has been the subject of the country’s diplomatic protests.

The Philippines does not recognize the fishing ban, which China has imposed each year since 1999.

"We will continue to register our formal opposition to it. It is an illegal exercise of state authority in so far as they cover the Philippines’ maritime zones,” Daza said.

According to Chino Gaston's report on "24 Oras," local officials in Kalayaan, Palawan said Chinese fishers didn't honor the fishing ban.

“Sa nakikita natin parang contradictory. Perennial ang mga bangka nila doon, ang mga barko nila na nangingisda,” Councilor MP Albayda said.

(Based on what we've seen, it's contradictory. Their boats have always been there to fish.)

Filipino fishers from the island and in mainland Palawan opted to avoid fishing in areas where Chinese vessels are sighted.

“Yung mga kasamahan namin dito, takot na magpunta doon. Sa halip na doon makakuha ng maraming isda dahil sakop naman ng teritoryo natin, tayo pa ang binabawalan ng ibang bansa,” a fisher said.

(Our fellow fishers here are afraid to go there. Instead of being able to fish where there is plenty to catch and within our territory, we're being kept from doing so by another country.) —Sundy Locus/NB, GMA Integrated News