Beijing, May 6 (IANS) China will step up law enforcement in the South China Sea to prevent illegal fishing activities and rehabilitate marine resources during the upcoming seasonal ban.
Zhao Xingwu, head of the bureau of fisheries under the agriculture ministry, on Thursday said the enforcement will be jointly conducted by the Chinese Coast Guard and local fishery bureaus, the China Daily reported.
“We will definitely step up law enforcement in the South China Sea to enhance regulation of our fishing vessels. Meanwhile, we will also step up the regulation of foreign ships,” he said.
Since 1999, China has imposed an annual fishing ban in parts of the South China Sea between May 16 and August 1 as part of an effort to protect marine resources in an area under its jurisdiction.
The ban covers areas north of the 12th parallel, including Huangyan Island but excluding most of the Nansha Islands.
In the Bohai Sea, Yellow Sea and East China Sea, the fishing ban falls between June 1 and September 1.
China’s territorial waters have long been troubled by overfishing. Around 8-9 million tonnes of fish can be harvested legally in China’s territorial waters each year, but the actual amount reaches 13 million tonnes.
Overfishing has resulted in the destruction of spawning sites for some species, reducing stocks in China’s coastal areas, as well as leading to a prolonged recession in the sector, especially in the East China Sea.