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Chinese boats fish in dangerous waters by Kathrin Hille April 24,2012   |  Source: FT

As Wang Chang tidies his boat on the southern Chinese island of Hainan, it could not be more peaceful. The 31-year-old fisherman has just sold his catch and the deck is drying in the afternoon sun.

But Mr Wang is plying a dangerous trade. Like 130 other fishing boats in Tanmen, a port on Hainan's east coast, his dilapidated 90-tonne wooden vessel – the Qiong Qionghai 02093 – specialises in fishing in the Spratly Islands.

The archipelago, a three-day voyage from Tanmen, has become one of the main flashpoints where China and its south-east Asian neighbours clash over rival territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Rich in oil and gas deposits, the area is one of the world's busiest shipping routes, through which oil and other resources from the Middle East and Africa are transported to Asia and exports are carried to Europe. But new quarrels over fishing and resource exploration have revived old tensions in the area.

Just as Mr Wang is taking a break after a two-month Spratly fishing expedition, Chinese and Philippine vessels remain locked in a stand-off at Scarborough Shoal, a reef just west of Manila, which was triggered by what the Philippine government says was illegal poaching by fishermen from Tanmen.

Such incidents are risky for the fishermen. Two of Mr

 

© 2012 Cable News Network LP, LLLP. A Time Warner Company

Theme(s): Fishing Craft, Gear and Fishing Methods.

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