BFAR: No reports China preventing Filipino fishermen in WPS

BFAR: No reports China preventing Filipino fishermen in WPS

THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) reiterated that the Philippines does not recognize the four-month fishing ban in the South China Sea and parts of the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Therefore, Filipino fishermen have no reason to stop fishing in the WPS.

China began enforcing the fishing ban in the South China Sea from May 1 to September 16.

Prior to this, China announced that its coast guard would start detaining, without trial for 60 days, foreign vessels entering its claimed waters starting June 15.

The Philippines opposed China’s new policy, with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) stating that it directly violates international law.

During a public briefing, BFAR Spokesperson Nazario Briguera shared that they have not received any reports indicating that Filipino fishermen are being prevented from fishing in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) following China’s declaration of a fishing ban.

“We have not received any reports, and our position on this matter is clear, similar to the position of the Department of Foreign Affairs when they issued the protest,” according to Nazario Briguera, Spokesperson, BFAR.

In case China proceeds with the detention, according to Briguera, it would signify another violation by the said country.

“This would entail provocation because it is illegal, and their planned arrest of our fishermen would have no basis in international law,” added Briguera.

It was previously mentioned by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Spokesperson Colonel Francel Margareth Padilla that their contingency plan is already prepared in case China proceeds with its threat to apprehend foreign fishermen in the South China Sea.

“We have contingency plans that are in place in case that these ICAD activities of Chinese will pursue.”

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines is guided by the constitution and the principles of national sovereignty,” said Col. Francel Margareth Padilla, Spokesperson, AFP.

According to BFAR, over 300,000 fishermen rely on fishing in the WPS, contributing 11 percent to the national fish production.

Three regions in the Philippines are encompassed by the WPS: these are regions 1, 3, and 4-B or MIMAROPA.

“Our marine capture fisheries production from the West Philippine Sea contributes to more than 11% of our total marine capture fisheries production,” Briguera expressed.


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