Zambales fishermen stand against China’s fishing ban in Philippine waters

Small-scale fisherfolk in the Philippines have declared that they will defy China’s four-month fishing ban in the South China Sea. Despite China’s unilateral imposition of the fishing moratorium, the chapter of fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) in Zambales vowed to continue their fishing activities in the waters claimed by the Philippines.

“Hindi kami tatalima sa walang batayang fishing ban ng China sa aming karagatan. Walang karapatan ang sinumang dayuhan na magbawal ng pangingisda sa sarili nating teritoryo,” said Joey Marabe, coordinator of PAMALAKAYA-Zambales.

The annual fishing ban imposed by Beijing covers the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, a fishing ground traditionally used by Filipino fishers. In response to China’s fishing ban, PAMALAKAYA national vice chairperson Ronnel Arambulo announced a “collective fishing expedition” off Zambales, with small fishing boats expected to participate this week.

The Philippines has lodged a protest against China’s unilateral fishing ban, citing the increase in tension in the West Philippine Sea and the South China Sea. The country urged Beijing to refrain from engaging in illegal actions that violate the Philippines’ sovereignty and maritime rights.

For years, Filipino fishermen have faced harassment from Chinese vessels in the contested waters, leading to a significant decline in their livelihoods. China asserts extensive claims over the South China Sea, disregarding rival claims by the Philippines and other countries despite an international ruling that invalidated its territorial basis.

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