News / Asia

South China Sea Fishermen Caught in Political Net

Fishermen Caught in Political Net in Disputed South China Seai
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Daniel Schearf
June 13, 2012 3:11 PM
The stand-off between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea is not just about disputed oil-rich territory. It is also about fish and other aquatic resources that are increasingly scarce. As politicians attempt to resolve the conflict, fishermen from both sides, trying to make a living, are caught in the middle. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Masinloc (muh-SIN-lok) in the Philippines.
Fishermen Caught in Political Net in Disputed South China Sea
Daniel Schearf
MASINLOC, ZAMBALES, Philippines - The stand-off between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea is not just about disputed oil-rich territory.  It is also about fish and other aquatic resources that are increasingly scarce. As politicians attempt to resolve the conflict, fishermen from both sides, trying to make a living, are caught in the middle.   

As a storm approaches, Filipino fishermen in Masinloc work together to pull their boats out of the water.
 
About 2,000 families here depend on the sea to make a living, but the spat with China at rich fishing grounds in the Scarborough Shoals has taken a toll on their income.
 
Miguel Bitana says in just a few days at the disputed Shoals he could earn what took him a week or more fishing in local waters.

“There really is a depletion of fish," said Bitana. "It's getting scarcer. That's also one thing that makes us feel bad, that fishing is banned in there but why are the Chinese still fishing there?  Why is it that we Filipinos are not allowed to even go there?”
 
  • A fish market in Masinloc, Zambales, in the Philippines. (D. Schearf/VOA)
  • A fish market in Masinloc, Zambales, in the Philippines. (D. Schearf/VOA)
  • Fishermen in Masinloc. (D. Schearf/VOA)
  • Some fishermen go to the rich, but disputed, fishing grounds around the Scarborough Shoals. (D. Schearf/VOA)
(View Photo Gallery)
Meanwhile, declining fish stocks around Hong Kong waters have forced fishermen there to venture further into disputed territories, risking conflict and confrontation.
 
Pang Wah-kan is Chairman of the Joint Committee of Hong Kong Fishermen’s organizations.  

“We started fishing in the South China Sea in the 1960s," said  From then on, several cases are reported that Filipino authorities detained our fishermen and ships and fined them.  Some were detained and even confiscated by Malaysian authorities as well.”
 
The stand-off started in April when a Philippines Navy ship tried to arrest Chinese fishermen for allegedly harvesting endangered species of sharks and coral.
 
Chinese surveillance boats intervened and the two sides have since engaged in a war of words.

Nestor Daet is head of a Masinloc fishermen’s watch group that monitors for illegal fishing.  
 
“I think our government sent about two ships, four? And the other are Philippines coast guard, I think," said Daet. "But, compared to the Naval ships of Chinese we are no match. It's like David and Goliath.”

Fishermen on both sides say their governments need to come to an agreement so they can all make a living.  
 
“We should help each other to protect our seas so that ...we can return the stocks, the fish stocks of the sea,” said Jerry Escape, an officer with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Masinloc.
 
Despite the stand-off, fishermen here say relations with Chinese fishermen have always been so friendly that in the past they would often barter with each other when fishing far from shore.
 
They hope that tradition continues next fishing season at the disputed Scarborough Shoals.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
June 20, 2012 10:14 AM
@hoang, really? The bigger they are the harder they fall? Then how hard USA gonna fall? Yeah keep dreaming!
Now china is sending woman to the space, building aircraft carriers, nuclear Subs, stealth fighters, and economy is growing fast. Seems China would be the last country that falls.


by: Hoang from: Canada
June 19, 2012 7:15 AM
Jonathan Huang,
The bigger they are(China) the harder they fall.


by: Nonoy from: Malacanang
June 18, 2012 10:05 PM
Do not be afraid.


by: @ Peter from: Nguyễn
June 17, 2012 2:53 PM
Your good idea has been presented at some international meeting but greedy Chinese rejected. China wants the whole pie without sharing one small piece to any body in the region.


by: enrique dela cruz from: philippines
June 16, 2012 9:31 AM
A fighter jet had been monitored in the disputed shoal. Does it mean there is an aircraft carrier somewhere near the area?


by: Jonathan Huang from: Canada
June 14, 2012 2:24 PM
By the way, no need to worry about Chinese fishmen, they are happy now. Communist party pay them for fishing in South China sea and they are safe now with the protection of big gun ship from the harasses of Viets and Finos. All Chinese can feel the proud as China becomes powerful.


by: Jonathan Huang from: Canada
June 14, 2012 2:15 PM
I don't see any problems that Communist party try to protect the very Chinese interests.
You may hear more noice recently, just because China is getting stronger, finally in a century, and she can do what she was not capable to do before.


by: Cả Thộn from: Hà Nội
June 14, 2012 10:13 AM
Philippinos must find a way to unite all 10 ASEAN countries into one solid defense bloc against Chinese expansionist policy or China will take over whatever they want.


by: Morgan from: CHina
June 14, 2012 1:13 AM
don't worry about chinese government,they are afraid of any tiny cause of domestic unstability,what the they can do is just keep making denounce


by: Lennie from: New Jersey USA
June 13, 2012 10:42 PM
China is at it again. It is a numbers game, and when a situation gets out of hand, they send in Big Brother observers? Today it is fishing rights, or sharing fishung grounds. Wait to the mainland lands troops and ships in Taiwan; Not that the Thai's really care. Americans should not get involved in that situation, but where is the voice of protest against the Chinese in regard to the fishing incodent?

Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid