South China Sea fisheries in danger of collapse in next decade, says maritime expert

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Vast fisheries in the South China Sea are in possible danger of collapse in the next decade or so as production has reached a plateau, a maritime expert warned.

Vast fisheries in the South China Sea are in possible danger of collapse in the next decade or so as production has reached a plateau, a maritime expert warned.

“Based on available data from different sources, fisheries in the West Philippine Sea as well as the entire South China Sea are in danger of collapse within the next decade or so,” said Dr. Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines Institute for Maritime Affairs and the Law of the Sea at “Kasarinlan” policy forum on Monday.

The expert said this was concerning as “in cases of fishery production, when it peaks and plateaus, it is usually followed by a sudden collapse.”

The fisheries production reaching a plateau has been made worse as Chinese fishermen have been taking corals and giant clams, Batongbacal added.

A video obtained by the Inquirer last month showed the extent of damage of corals in Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea. Filipino fishermen have accused their Chinese counterparts of destroying the coral reefs and harvesting giant clams.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said they will no longer file a case on the destruction of the reefs and instead bring it up in the next bilateral discussion with China.

But Batongbacal said the government should have a “more urgent effort” to change its policy “from a passive observer to being an active protector.”

“We really need to protect the fishery habitat and fish stocks in the West Philippine Sea,” he pointed out.  

Photos

No photos has been attached.