China’s fishing ban in Vietnamese waters null and void: agriculture ministry

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) yesterday declared that China’s temporary ban of fishing activities in Việt Nam’s territorial waters is null and void.
Vietnamese fishermen on an offshore fishing trip. — VNA/VNS Photo Xuân Trường
Vietnamese fishermen on an offshore fishing trip. — VNA/VNS Photo Xuân Trường

The ministry made the statement in response to an announcement released by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture which says that the fishing ban will last from May 1 to August 16, 2018, covering Việt Nam’s East Sea, including the Gulf of Tonkin and Việt Nam’s territorial waters.

In a document issued on April 23, the ministry asked competent agencies to inform fishermen about China’s fishing ban.

Coastal localities were also requested to encourage fishermen to maintain their normal fishing activities in Việt Nam’s waters and go sailing in groups in order to support each other at sea.

Of note, fishing boats licensed to go fishing in the shared fishing grounds in the Gulf of Tonkin in 2017-2018 should not operate in the eastern area of the demarcation line in the Gulf during the period of the Chinese fishing ban, the ministry said.

People’s Committees of coastal cities and provinces were asked to instruct competent agencies to closely monitor the operation of fishing boats during the period, and promptly report incidents emerging at sea to the MARD.

Earlier, the Việt Nam Fisheries Society (VINAFIS) has voiced its protest against China’s unilateral decision to ban fishing in the East Sea, saying that it has no validity.

The ban hampers fishing activities of Vietnamese fishermen and violates Việt Nam’s sovereignty over Hoàng Sa (Paracel) archipelago and territorial waters in the Tonkin Gulf as well as its legitimate rights and interests.

The ban also infringes international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and related international legal documents, and runs counter to the spirit and wording of the Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the East Sea (DOC) signed between ASEAN and China in 2002.

China’s unilateral action is not in line with the development trend of Việt Nam-China relations and is not beneficial to peace and stability in the region, the association said.

The VINAFIS urged Vietnamese authorities to take effective measures to stop China’s action and increase patrols in the sea to protect fishermen and facilitate their fishing activities in Việt Nam’s territorial waters. — VNS

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