Stop Illegal Fishing in the West Philippine Sea

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Illegal fishing by Chinese vessels is an ongoing issue threatening Philippine islands along the West Philippine Sea. It has numerous negative effects on Filipino people, as fish is a main source of food and livelihood. In addition, it damages the reefs, disrupts the balance of food chains, and leads to the extinction of species.

As of March 2019, The Western Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines has reported that over 600 Chinese ships have circled Thitu Island, a common fishing spot for Philippine fishermen in the West Philippine Sea, since January 2019. There has been history of China’s illegal fishing in our waters. To illustrate, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources has filed a total of 863 cases against fishing directors from July 2016 to June 2017, and China has been reported to have caught 368,000 tons of fish yearly. To add to this, the BBC journalist, Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, visited the Spratly Islands in 2015, where he witnessed Chinese poachers intentionally destroying coral reefs in search of giant clams.

This petition aims to raise awareness about the problem to inspire leaders and people of power to institute positive change. With the help of the Congress, positive change can become a reality; stricter laws and guidelines can be passed, such as proper permits for foreign vessels, sufficient tracking of ships, and impose tariffs on fish caught in our waters.

The Environmental Defense Fund has predicted that if the condition of fisheries in our country does not improve by 2040, our fishing stocks will have depleted, and we will have to rely on seafood imported internationally. If we don’t take action soon, we will be met with the downfall of both our economy and environment.