China’s Fishing Counteroffensive in South China Sea

China has long been providing financial support for fishermen, so they can build larger boats that can travel further. Photo: Zhen Liu

China has long been providing financial support for fishermen, so they can build larger boats that can travel further. Photo: Zhen Liu

At the Philippines’ offensive by obtaining an arbitration ruling to deny China’s historical rights and interests to the South China Sea, China responded by the counteroffensive of intensifying its exploitation of fish resources in disputed waters. SCMP says in its report “New Hainan fishing port to extend China’s maritime reach: analysts” today, “China has opened a new fishing port – the largest in the southern province of Hainan and the nearest to the disputed Spratly Islands – in a move analysts said would help expand its presence in the South China Sea.”

The port at Yazhou, Hainan can accommodate 800 fishing boats now and 2,000 later when the 3-billion yuan (US$500 million) port project is completed. As the port can handle vessels as heavy as 3,000 tonnes, it will attract more fishermen to build larger boats subsidized by the government to go the areas of disputes with the Philippines and Vietnam with ability to confront their coastguard ships.

China has acted with restraints before the Hague ruling but having been completely denied its historical rights and interests by the Philippines with US support, it is now conducting its counteroffensive to exploit the resources without restraint in the disputed areas, first the fish and then the energy resources if its talks with the Philippines have broken due to Philippines’ insistence on implementing the Hague ruling.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be viewed at:


2 Comments on “China’s Fishing Counteroffensive in South China Sea”

  1. Steve says:

    Maybe, A better way to describe the Plaintiff’s Hague arbitral tribunal award is Dumb and Dumber, starring US (supporting role) and Philippines (leading role). China has Article 298 UNCLOS on it’s side supported by international law. Unless the PH intend on a maritime war, China should now exercise its rights of historical sovereignty in the SCS. In fact, China’s stratagem of island construction, mobile nuclear power plant, huge floating platforms/pontoons, airports, docks and features that necessitates coastguard, exploration, fishing and naval are simply ingenious. Time is the essence for Philippines to seriously consider it’s economic and maritime consequences with China.

    The global times stated an example of Australia claiming 5,900,000 sq.miles of the Antarctic and cleverly used the article 298 UNCLOS exclusionary rights to avoid arbitration on the basis of historical sovereignty by their discoverer England. I doubt it if the ancient British lived, farmed and dug a well in the glaciers for freshwater farming.

    Malaysia and Vietnam are wise to see out the PH initiated rulings and return to bilateral negotiations.


  2. Fre Okin says:

    The PCA verdict ‘islands are rocks’ such as Taiping Island is a rock, the largest in the Spratlys means that all islands squatted by Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia are now places where Chinese fishermen can go up to 12 NM there and fish all they want. No 200 NM EEZ for these guys. Chinese larger ships don’t need to venture into 12 NM to avoid running around.

    This PCA ‘islands are rocks’ verdict is intended to deny China a larger 200 NM EEZ around each of the Nine Dash Line cluster of islands now occupied by VN and PH. This is PH/ US scheme to prevent China from having more control of the South China Sea.

    This side effect is Chinese fishermen are now winners and can fish all they want up to 12 NM. Losers are PH, VN, Taiwan, Malaysia. China can also park her oil/gas drilling platforms up to 12 NM of their islands, including PH Thitu island, Taiping island, Reed Bank etc and exploit the resources there.

    While superficially China lose in the PCA verdict, in practice she is a Big Winner and the other guys are losers. They must be condemning PH and US for dragging China to the PCA.

    There might be even some places where the water is shallow enough for China to build permanent Mobile Floating Platforms anchored there, with anything China want to put there to monitor the South China Sea. Further advantage of the PCA verdict for China!