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

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media 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.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid