Philippines Probes Chinese Cyanide Fishing In Disputed South China Sea

The Philippine government is investigating reports of cyanide fishing by foreign vessels in Scarborough Shoal, South China Sea. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is deeply concerned, while the Chinese Embassy denies allegations. BFAR warns that cyanide fishing is illegal under Philippine law. 

The Philippine government is currently investigating claims made by Filipino fishermen that foreign fishers were using cyanide to fish in Bajo de Masinloc, also known as Scarborough Shoal, in the disputed South China Sea (West Philippine Sea). According to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), it was deeply concerned by the fishermen’s report, but the Chinese Embassy in Manila denied the allegations and labeled them as “sheer fabrications”.

“This information is from reports of our fishermen in the area. It is deeply concerning, and we will be validating and investigating the issue,” BFAR told Maritime Fairtrade in an email. 

The agency noted that recent deployments at Bajo de Masinloc found the lagoon heavily damaged, potentially due to cyanide fishing by Chinese and Vietnamese fishermen. Cyanide, according to BFAR, is a noxious or poisonous substance which, when used in fishing, stupefies, disables, or renders unconscious fish and other marine species, and is detrimental to the coral reefs and other marine organisms.

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