Seasonal Fishing Ban in South China Sea

Nearly 9,000 fishing boats are getting ready to set sail near south China’s Hainan province with the lifting of a seasonal fishing ban in the South China Sea on Wednesday, local maritime authorities said.

The province’s 35,611 fishermen moored their boats on May 16, when the ban began.

About 1,000 fishing boats in Lingao county are heading towards Beibuwan Gulf off the coast of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, while 100 others in Tanmen township have been ordered to port to avoid storms, said officials with the Hainan Marine and Fishery Department.

About 80 percent of China’s fishermen venturing to the South China Sea are from Tanmen.

Fishermen going to the Xisha and Nansha Islands have been warned to take precautions, as Typhoon Saola, which is approaching southeast China coast, has brought gales to parts of the region.

China recently established the prefectural-level city of Sansha, which administers more than 200 islets, sandbanks and reefs in Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha islands in the South China Sea. Fishery officials estimate that Sansha is home to fishery reserves containing 5 million tonnes of fish.

In July, Hainan sent a large fishing fleet to the Nansha Islands — an area not covered by the fishing ban — to explore fishery resources.

“After Sansha was set up, we were eager to return to the sea,” said Zheng Changfu, a fisherman from Tanmen.

Zheng, 42, said he feels “safer” about going to the South China Sea to fish these days.

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