With tensions rising in the South China Sea, Filipino fishermen face starvation as China blocks key fishing ground

February 26, 2024
February 17, 2024
3 Minute Read
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Filipino fishermen in San Salvador Island says that China was using speedboats and water cannon to block access to an area that is inside the Philippines exclusive economic zone (EEZ) but was seized by China in 2012.

The skirmishes are taking place as the Philippines steps up its defence posture in the South China Sea, an area long seen as a potential flashpoint between the United States and China.

The high seas drama has slashed the incomes of the fishermen. No longer able to fish freely,, and sometimes chased away before they have even caught anything, they are forced into the open sea.

This costs more in fuel, leading many into a vicious cycle where each trip leaves them more indebted and thus forced to travel further next time to catch more fish.

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Due to aggressive actions by China, Filipino fishermen, face increasing difficulty, off the Filipino coast. This contested area has become more dangerous for fishermen, who can no longer shelter there during storms.

The economic hardships and mental toll fishermen endure as they are driven away from their traditional fishing grounds, incurring debts due to the cycle of fishing trips.

The Scarborough Shoal has strategic significance in the South China Sea, adding tension to territorial disputes. Despite an international tribunal invalidating China's claim, tensions persist, impacting the livelihoods of Filipino fishermen.

A significant loss of income for fishermen due to restrictions on accessing the Scarborough Shoal.

Fishermen are taking action, forming groups, urging the government to adopt assertive approaches to reclaim and manage the country's Economic Zone.

While some government support has been provided, challenges remain, with the need for effective and suitable projects to help fishermen sustain their livelihoods.

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