Vietnam will be tougher with China: fishing group

Posted on August 5, 2012

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Nguyen Viet Thang, chairman of the Vietnam Fisheries Association (Photo: Tuoi Tre)

The Vietnam Fisheries Association calls on fishermen to continue fishing in the seas of Vietnam, adding it is certain concerned agencies will take stronger measures to deal with China’s violation of Vietnamese sovereignty.

Nguyen Viet Thang, chairman of the association, made the statement in an interview with Tuoi Tre over the fact that China has sent more than 23,000 fishing boats to the East Sea.

China doesn’t want fish?

The main purpose of China in sending such a large number of fishing boats to the East Sea is not to fish, Thang said.

As a common practice, fishing can be done in different fishing grounds with different fishing facilities, not necessarily sending a large number of boats to the East Sea, which includes the seas of Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) and Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelagos, Thang explained.

Except some waters north of Hoang Sa and south of Truong Sa, where tuna fishing is effective, other areas in the region have many coral reefs and undersea islands. Therefore, fishing there is effective only when fishermen use hooking boats. Meanwhile, most of the fishing boats China has sent to the East Sea are not of this kind, he elaborated.

Thang also cited a source from the Philippines as saying that Chinese fishing boats that have operated in the East Sea have not only caught fish but also exploited corals, causing damage to the marine environment.

We are not fearful

A number of fishermen have been worried about China sending tens of thousands of fishing boats to the East Sea, but none of us are fearful of such an act, Thang said.

“The association has called on Vietnamese fishermen to continue their normal fishing activities in the seas of Vietnam, since this will contribute to affirming Vietnam’s sovereignty and detecting any sovereignty violations by Chinese boats.”

Vietnamese boats, however, should be more vigilant and set up a close connection among them while operating at sea, he advised.

Tougher measures to be taken

Previously, Vietnamese forces had caught Chinese fishing boats operating in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), but based on the friendship spirit, Vietnam’s competent agencies have let the violating boats return to China without any punishment, Thang said.

“However, this time, when more than 23,000 Chinese fishing boats have been sent to the East Sea, Vietnamese authorities must certainly have prepared stronger measures to cope with any similar violations.”

Thang emphasized that if Chinese boats enter and fish in Vietnam’s 200 nautical mile EEZ, any Vietnamese fishing boats have the right to prevent that illegal entry.

As earlier reported, China has sent more than 23,000 fishing boats to the East Sea after lifting its fishing ban that started on May 16 and ended on August 1.

Of these vessels, nearly 9,000 are from Hainan Province and some 14,000 are from Guangdong Province.

In related developments, Prof. Carl Thayer, of the Australian Defense Academy, told Tuoi Tre that Vietnam needs to strengthen the supervision of its EEZ to the maximum extent and publicize all violations by Chinese fishing boats.

Under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982, a country has the jurisdiction rights over the fisheries source in its EEZ and that country has the right to expel foreign fishing boats that illegally enter the EEZ.

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Posted in: Politics