Fishing boats of Vietnam (Photo: VNA)

Phu Yen (VNA) – Fishermen in the central coastal province of Phu Yen has been encouraged to maintain fishing activities in Vietnam’s territorial waters after China promulgated a temporary ban on fishing activities in the East Sea.

In a recent document, the provincial People’s Committee said the ban is worthless as it prohibited fishing activities in Vietnam’s territorial waters.

It asked the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the provincial Department of Information and Communications, the provincial Border Guard Command, and press agencies to inform local fishermen about China’s fishing ban, while calling on local fishermen to organise fishing activities in groups to easily support each other in case of necessity.

Fishing vessels 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 from May 1 to August 16, the document said.

The provincial People’s Committee assigned the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to work with the provincial Border Guard Command to strictly manage and control the departure of fishing boats and their offshore fishing trips during the period, thus promptly informing sudden situations arising at sea to the committee.

In a recent announcement, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture said that the fishing ban would last from May 1 to August 16, 2018, covering the East Sea, including the Gulf of Tonkin and Vietnam’s territorial waters.

In response to China’s move, the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has said that China’s temporary ban is null.

The Vietnam Fisheries Society (VINAFIS) has also 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 Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago and territorial waters in the Tonkin Gulf as well as its legitimate rights and interests.

It 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 Vietnam-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 Vietnam’s territorial waters.-VNA