MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has rejected China’s unilateral imposition of a fishing moratorium in the South China Sea.
In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the Philippines does not recognize China’s unilateral imposition of a fishing ban in the area which runs from May 1 to August 16, 2021.
“As announced by China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the ban covers ‘waters north of 12 degrees north latitude’ in the South China Sea,” the DFA said.
“These waters include areas over which the Philippines exercises sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction,” the agency added.
The DFA explained: “According to Paragraph 716 of the Award of the South China Sea Arbitration rendered on 12 July 2016, China, by promulgating its moratorium on fishing in the South China Sea, ‘without exception for areas of the South China Sea falling within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines and without limiting the moratorium to Chinese flagged vessels, breached Article 56 of the 1982 UNCLOS with respect to the Philippines’ sovereign rights over the living resources of its exclusive economic zone.” The 2016 arbitral award also affirmed the traditional and legitimate fishing rights of Filipino fishermen.”
China’s annual fishing moratorium extends far beyond it’s legitimate maritime entitlements under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and is without basis under international law, the DFA said.
“China cannot legally impose nor legally enforce such a moratorium in the West Philippine Sea,” it stressed.
Thus, 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, the DFA said.