Philippines imposes fishing ban in disputed waters

Shirley Escalante, Manila

Last Updated: Wed, 16 May 2012 18:54:00 +1000

The Philippines has put in place its own fishing ban in the Scarborough Shoal, as the territorial stand-off with China continues.

The Philippines' fishing ban begins on Tuesday and will last for two months.

China's summer fishing ban in most parts of the South China Sea also starts on May 16.

Earlier this week, Philippines President Benigno Aquino said he welcomed China's two-month fishing ban in the Scarborough Shoal.

Mr Aquino says the area has already suffered ecological damage.

He says the Philippines' fishing ban will hopefully allow the marine ecosystem in the shoal to recover, and ease tensions in the disputed area.

The Philippines Coast Guard has noted some level of water discolouration over the shoal, allegedly indicative of marine degradation.

Many local fishermen are dismayed at the fishing ban, saying it would limit their catch before the annual monsoon season begins this month.

A territorial stand-off between China and the Philippines over ownership of the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea has been ongoing for more than a month.