“China’s annual fishing moratorium extends far beyond China’s legitimate maritime entitlements under UNCLOS and is without basis under international law,” said the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The DFA asserted that China’s fishing ban was an invasion of Philippine freedom and territory.
He said the Philippines would not recognize China’s fishing moratorium from May 1 to August 16, 2021, which is occupied by the ocean that the Philippines has “sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction.”
“China can not legally impose nor legally enforce such a moratorium in the West Philippines Sea,” said DFA.
The order of China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs states that the fishing ban covers “waters north of 12 degrees north latitude in the South China Sea,” areas covered by Philippine waters.
“The Philippines strongly urges China to desist from any action and activity that infringes on Philippine sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction, in contravention of international law,” DFA insisted.
Chinese fishing ban also covered the West Philippine Sea; DFA protested
Earlier this month, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon also said that the Philippines is not covered by the fishing restrictions in the South China Sea implemented by China from May 1 to August 16.
“This fishing ban does not apply to our fishermen, and the NTF-WPS opposes China’s imposition of the same over the areas within the territory and jurisdiction of the Philippines. The NTF-WPS reiterates that our fisherfolk are encouraged to go out and fish in our waters in the WPS,” said Esperon.
The country’s maritime exercises will also continue to protect the Philippines’ territorial waters from illegal, unreported fishing and enforce maritime security and safety, the official also noted.
“The BFAR is implementing its Integrated Maritime Environment Monitoring System (IMEMS) to counter IUUF, for monitoring of fishing vessels, and accounting of fishing catches and landings to ensure effective and efficient fisheries management,” said Esperon.
“The Government maritime patrols will be joined by the Philippine National Police – Maritime Group (PNP-MG) Regional Maritime Units which will be assigned to the Area Task Forces (ATF) West and North for involvement in seaborne operations,” he added.