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Philippine fishing community falls on hard times in South China Sea September 11,2019   |  Source: RFA

Stormy weather, gouty joints and a health scare have temporarily grounded boat captain Johnny Sonny Geruela in Masinloc, a small Philippine fishing community on the frontline of a territorial dispute and international tensions over the South China Sea. The loquacious father of four, who just recovered from a mild stroke, has been assisting his wheelchair-bound wife and tending to the family’s side business, a pool hall that caters to other grounded fishermen.

“It has been storming, so we can’t go too far out at sea,” said Geruela, 49, who was feeding his wife a pork-blood stew as he spoke to BenarNews, an RFA-affiliated online news service, at his home in Masinloc last week. “But even if there was no rain, we still can’t go in Karburo just like that. Yes, it is ours, but the Chinese are there, you see.” He was using the Filipino name for Scarborough Shoal, a triangle-shaped chain of reefs and rocks that lies within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the South China Sea.

Geruela and other fishermen from Masinloc said they hauled in bountiful catches from the rich fishing grounds around the shoal, until Chinese actions there in recent years limited their access to it. “It used to be that we ate lobsters while fishing there. It was so easy to

Theme(s): Others, Coastal Ecosystems and Threats, Freshwater ecosystems and threats, Landing Centres, Fisheries Development and Aquaculture, Fisheries Resources, Communities and Organisations, Fishing Craft, Gear and Fishing Methods, Post Harvest Technology and Trade.

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