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Chinese boats barring Filipinos from fishing in shoal by Jaime Laude May 09,2012   |  Source: The Philippine Star

Chinese maritime vessels have started imposing fishing restrictions on Filipino fishermen returning to Panatag Shoal by denying them entry inside the lagoon.

Located 120 nautical miles from mainland Zambales, Panatag Shoal used to be the target and practice area of US jetfighters during air drills when they had military bases here.

It is now in the crosshairs of a festering territorial standoff between the Philippines and China.

“Our fishermen who returned to the area were barred from entering the lagoon to fish by Chinese maritime vessels using their floodlights to drive them away,” Masinloc Mayor Desiree Edora in Zambales province said yesterday.

Speaking on the mayor’s behalf, Edora’s secretary RJ Bautista also complained that while the Chinese maritime vessels were doing this to Filipinos, they allowed their own fishing vessels and fishermen inside the lagoon.

Fearing for their safety, Filipino fishermen are now simply fishing outside the lagoon.

“They are fishing outside because they’ve been prevented by the Chinese from entering the lagoon,” Bautista said.

After decades of fishing in the area, Filipinos last cast nets inside the rich fishing ground on April 15, about a week after the standoff began.

Bautista said the local fishermen


© 2012 ABS-CBN Interactive

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