China to ban fishing in disputed waters

China to ban fishing in disputed waters

China will enforce a fishing ban in waters around a disputed island in the resource-rich South China Sea from May 16, and has made it clear it also applies to foreign vessels, marking an escalation of tensions with the Philippines over the shoal.

The move was seen as an attempt by Beijing to assert its sovereignty over Scarborough Shoal, which China calls Huangyan Island and the Philippines recognises as Panatag Shoal.

The ban, which comes into effect from May 16, will last for two and a half months. All fishing vessels should be moored and nets shelved during the ban. Violators can have their boats confiscated, and fined up to 50,000 yuan ($7,936).

In thinly-veiled warning to Philippines, China said its ban on fishing around the disputed islands applies to foreign vessels also and any fishing activity by other nationals would be seen as blatant attempt to encroach on China’s resources.

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