About 200 fishing boats in Su’ao have decided not to go out to sea for the next three days, due to China’s live-fire military exercises near Taiwan, which may result in losses to the fishermen of about NT$50 million (US$1.65 million), a fisherman’s association in the northeastern coastal township said Thursday.

The Chinese military drills, which started around midday Thursday in waters around Taiwan, include an area where Su’ao fishermen usually harvest horse mackerel, mackerel, and longfin squid, Chen Chun-shen, head of the Su’ao Fishermen’s Association, told CNA.

On Tuesday night, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army announced that it planned to carry out large-scale live-fire military exercises in six locations near Taiwan, Thursday to Sunday, in response to a visit by United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had arrived in Taipei 16 minutes earlier.

According to Chen, one of the drill locations is southeast of Su’ao Township in the northeastern county of Yilan, which has prompted about 200 fishing boat operators to remain in port for the three days that the military drills are being conducted.

With that decision, the Su’ao fishing boats will suffer estimated economic losses of NT$50 million, he said.

Wu Feng-chun, head of a fisherman’s rights association in Yilan, said he will lose NT$6,000 per day in personnel costs alone, as he employs five migrant workers.

Meanwhile, fishing boats that have decided to go out as usual will receive two-hourly warnings from Lanyang Fishery Radio in Su’ao about the Chinese military exercises, according to Chen.

A map released by Chinese state media shows that the military drills are being conducted in the Taiwan Strait, the Bashi Channel, East China Sea, and the Pacific, in areas closest to Taiwan’s New

Taipei, Miaoli, Keelung, Kaohsiung, Pingtung and Hualien.

In Hualien, however, coast guard patrol vessels, fishing boats, and whale watching boats were operating as usual Thursday morning.

Lin Chun-chi, head of the Hualien Fishermen’s Association, told reporters Thursday that there are about 400 fishing boats based in Hualien, most of which usually fish within a range of 9.26 kilometers from the coast.

On Thursday, only a few of them went out, leaving early in the morning and returning by noon, Lin said, adding that it is currently the off-season for fishing in that area.