Tougher laws for ‘illegal’ fishing in disputed waters
CHINA yesterday announced penalties for “illegal” fishing in its waters, including those it claims in the South China Sea, weeks after an international tribunal ruled that those claims have no legal basis.
The Supreme Court defined penalties for boats operating in areas, including the disputed region and its contiguous economic zones, in a move that could raise already high regional tensions.
The question of who has the rights to fish in the disputed South China Sea has been a major point of contention between Beijing and Manila, which brought the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
The decision appears to be an attempt to strengthen Chinese rules governing the waters, with a focus on sanctions for illegal fishing.
The new regulations outline penalties for both Chinese and “foreign” fishermen operating “illegally” in Chinese waters, including the country’s “exclusive economic zone” (EEZ), a 200-nautical-mile region surrounding a country’s territory.
Those that “illegally enter” Chinese waters more than once in a year or refuse to leave the waters will be subject to fines and up to a year in jail. There are also penalties for harvesting coral and giant clams, as well as other endangered species. –