31st Sea Games - Vietnam 2021 Covid-19 Pandemic
May 05, 2020 / 10:22

China’s fishing ban in South China Sea is absurd: Vietnam society

The three-and-a-half-month ban totally goes against international law, including UNCLOS.

Beijing’s fishing ban in the South China Sea from May 1 to August 16 is totally absurd and it violates Vietnam’s sovereignty over Vietnamese waters, Vietnamese fishermen have stated.

The ban violates Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands and its legitimate rights and interest in its waters, and goes against international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the Vietnam Fisheries Society stressed.

“The ban has no jurisdiction whatsoever over Vietnamese seas. Vietnamese fishermen have complete rights to fish in waters under their sovereignty,” the society said in a statement, calling for Vietnam’s authorities to take “drastic measures” to forcefully condemn and end China’s arrogant moves. It also called for increasing sea patrols to protect local fishermen in Vietnam’s territorial waters.

 Vietnam's fishing boats operate in South China Sea. Photo: Thanh Nien

Early this month, the China Coast Guard (CCG) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs announced a three-and-a-half-month ban on waters covering China’s Fujian and Guangdong provinces, which includes Vietnam’s Paracel Islands, parts of the Gulf of Tonkin, and the Scarborough Shoal, formerly administered by the Philippines.

The fishing ban covers an area that is “flagrantly beyond China’s lawful jurisdiction and deep within its neighbors’ exclusive economic zones,” RFI cited Hunter Stires, a fellow with the U.S. Naval War College's John B. Hattendorf Center for Maritime Historical Research.

“To make its draconian vision a reality, China is working to impose its will and its own domestic laws on other countries’ fishermen and local Southeast Asian civilian mariners throughout the South China Sea,” he said.

Similarly, the Philippines also protested the ban, saying China has no right and moral ascendancy to declare a fishing ban in the area. Filipino authorities said, Beijing threatened to “arrest illegal fishers from Vietnam and the Philippines,” Businessmirror reported.

Beijing says it enforces the fishing ban annually to preserve fishing stocks in its territorial waters, Express reported.

China is known for being one of the largest sources of illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing in the region, according to the 2019 IUU Fishing Index.

It is also not a member of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center, the main intergovernmental organization in Southeast Asia devoted to fisheries protection and sustainable development.

Both Vietnam and the Philippines are members of the center.