China, Philippines to ban fishing in disputed South China Sea

The Philippines and China are set to impose fishing bans in the South China Sea amid a tense territorial standoff.

Erik De Castro/REUTERS
Filipino fishermen wave from a fishing boat bound to fish near Scarborough Shoal in Masinloc, Zambales May 10. Masinloc is the nearest land, about 128 nautical miles away from the disputed Scarborough Shoal.

China and the Philippines are set to enforce seasonal fishing bans in South China Sea waters where their ships have been engaged in a tense standoff for a month.

China's ban that begins Wednesday is meant to conserve resources and curb overfishing. The official Xinhua News Agency cited a fisheries official Sunday as saying the ban includes waters around Huangyan island, which Manila calls Panatag Shoal.

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Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said Monday that President Benigno Aquino has decided Manila should impose its own ban. Details were expected in the coming days.

The ship standoff at the area also known as Scarborough Shoal started April 10 when Philippine authorities suspected Chinese boats there were fishing illegally.

Chinese enforcement of its ban has previously sparked tensions with Vietnam.

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