Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Economy

Duterte wrong on fish data — political analysts

By Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza, Reporter

THE SOUTH China Sea is a major fish source for the Philippines that is crucial to its food security, political analysts said on Sunday, belying President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s claim that it couldn’t quarrel with China over fish.

China’s unregulated fishing activities in the disputed waterway, where the Southeast Asian nation gets 27% of its fish catch, threatens the  livelihood of thousands of Filipino fishermen, said Sheena A. Valenzuela, a national security analyst at the Ateneo De Manila University Policy Center in Manila.

“It’s resources are crucial to the food security of Filipinos, contributing to coastal livelihoods and export trade,” she said in an e-mail. China’s illegal fishing activities “could also lead to the loss in livelihood of about 627,000 Filipino fishermen.”

Mr. Duterte last week said he would only send warships to the South China Sea once China starts drilling for oil in the area, noting that there was not enough fish there to quarrel about.

“There is no treaty between the Philippines and China allowing the latter to fish within the Philippine exclusive economic zone, which means China’s actions are illegal,” Ms. Valenzuela said.

The South China Sea has been the source of about 12% of global fishery production and hosts more than half of the world’s fishing vessels, Jay L. Batongbacal, who heads the University of the Philippines Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, said in a Viber message.

Fishery production from the waterway was worth $617.18 million in 2016, he said. “But we don’t know how much more this figure could be had we been tracking how many foreign fishing vessels have been operating in the South China Sea and how much they are taking.”

Mr. Batongbacal said there is no exact fish data, which are based on fish landing at fish ports, not on fishing grounds where the fish came from. “The governance system does not account for where fishermen go.”

INCOME LOSS

Annual yield from the Spratly Islands alone could reach as high as 90.8 thousand metric tons (MT) a year, which is equivalent to 5% of the country’s total marine capture, he added.

“The fish stocks there are indeed vital to the country’s economic sustenance and development,” the analyst said.

The South China Sea is biologically linked to the Sulu Sea and the rest of the Coral Triangle that extends all the way to Papua New Guinea, Mr. Batongbacal said. “It plays a role in the regeneration of fish stocks in those other waters.”

“The possible income loss from conceding our marine resources there is about P4-5.9 billion per year,” Jerwin G. Baure of scientist group AGHAM said in a Facebook Messenger chat.

Mr. Baure, a fishery technologist, said the South China Sea supports as many as 3.7 million fishermen from six countries.

“Around 55% of the fishing vessels in the world operate in the South China Sea, on which 86% are small-scale fishing vessels,” he said.

Mr. Baure said Chinese island-building activities had destroyed at least 16,000 hectares of reefs as of 2017. Reef damage could reach P33.1 billion yearly.

More than 1,500 fishermen in Masinloc, Zambales in northern Philippines have deserted the Scarborough Shoal, which for decades served as their traditional fishing ground, he said, citing fisherfolk group Pamalakaya.

About 240 Chinese vessels that China claims are ordinary fishing vessels have spread out to a wider area in the South China Sea, a Philippine border patrol task force earlier said.

It said about 15 vessels either manned by Chinese militia, the People’s Liberation Army Navy or Chinese Coast Guard had been spotted at the Scarborough Shoal.

Michael Henry Ll. Yusingco, a research fellow at the Ateneo De Manila University Policy Center, said the fishing ground in the South China Sea was one of the reasons why the Chinese and Vietnamese have invested in their fishing fleets.

“This begs the question, why have we not done the same?” he asked.

“Whatever claim the President has regarding this subject can easily be confirmed or disproved by the Bureau of Fisheries,” he said. “So the fact that the latter has not been vocal in this issue tells me a different story.”

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources did not immediately reply to a mobile phone message seeking comments.

Presidential spokesperson  Herminio “Harry” L. Roque, Jr. last week said Mr. Duterte would tolerate China’s fishing activities in the South China Sea. He added that Filipinos could also fish freely in the contested waters.

“The fact that the Chinese militia has been exploiting our marine ecosystem without the proper legal framework in place is tragic on many levels,” Mr. Yusingco said.

Herman Joseph S. Kraft, head of the UP Political Science Department, said the President’s unwillingness to counter China’s military presence in the disputed waterway makes his administration culpable.

“He is dangerously abrogating to himself powers that compromise constitutional provisions,” he said of Mr. Duterte.

Renato C. de Castro, an international studies professor at De La Salle University, urged the government to build structures in its territories to deter Chinese incursions.

“I don’t know if the administration has the courage to do that, honestly, but we have to move fast to build structures,” he said in a Zoom App Meetings interview.

“Duterte is not actively upholding the arbitration case victory, as seen by his administration’s responses to Chinese vessel intrusion until recently,” Mr. Baure said.

“It seems that he has chosen to remain diplomatic to retain the Philippines’ bargaining position for China-funded infrastructure projects and other state donations, like vaccines,” he added.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get the daily email that makes reading the news actually enjoyable. Stay informed and entertained, for free.
Your information is secure and your privacy is protected. By opting in you agree to receive emails from us. Remember that you can opt-out any time, we hate spam too!

Latest

Investing

Virgin Orbit’s next satellite launch will take place from the UK, following the success of the “Straight Up” mission, which lifted off from Mojave...

Investing

Post Office collection and cash delivery workers are to stage a one-day strike later this month in a dispute over pay. Members of the...

Investing

UK consumers cut back on credit card borrowing in May amid fears over rising interest rates and a slowing economy driven by a cost...

Investing

London City airport is seeking to overturn its Saturday flight ban and raise by 40% the limit on its passenger numbers. A local residents’...

Investing

The bank said that it was introducing a £1,200-a-year pay increase from August 1, which would start to show in next month’s pay packets....

Investing

Postmasters caught up in the Horizon IT scandal say that they are still being “left in the dark” about a compensation package after the...

You May Also Like

Investing

Having a good Instagram marketing agency to back up your Instagram account is an absolute must going into the new year. With competition stronger...

Economy

Ivermectin, an existing drug against parasites including head lice, has had a checkered history when it comes to treating COVID-19. The bulk of studies...

Investing

Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder in the global population. Therefore, it is a problem that many people suffer or have suffered throughout...

Investing

As a traditionally rigid insurance industry becomes bogged down by antiquated processes and operations, a handful of industry leaders are seeking to shake things...

Disclaimer: SmartRetirementReport.com, its managers, its employees, and assigns (collectively "The Company") do not make any guarantee or warranty about what is advertised above. Information provided by this website is for research purposes only and should not be considered as personalized financial advice. The Company is not affiliated with, nor does it receive compensation from, any specific security. The Company is not registered or licensed by any governing body in any jurisdiction to give investing advice or provide investment recommendation. Any investments recommended here should be taken into consideration only after consulting with your investment advisor and after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Copyright © 2021 SmartRetirementReport. All Rights Reserved.