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MANILA 27 May 2024 – The Philippines protested the People’s Republic of China’s imposition of a unilateral, four-month-long fishing moratorium on 01 May 2024 in areas of the South China Sea north of the 12 degrees North latitude. The 2024 fishing ban is expected to last until 16 September 2024. 

Through a diplomatic note, the Philippines protested the ban insofar as it includes the Philippines maritime zones over which the Philippines has sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction. 

Paragraph 716 of the final and binding 2016 Arbitral Award on the South China Sea states that China, by promulgating its moratorium on fishing in the South China Sea “without exception for areas of the South China Sea falling within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines and without limiting the moratorium to Chinese flagged vessels, breached Article 56 of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) with respect to the Philippines’ sovereign rights over the living resources of its exclusive economic zone.” 

The Philippines stressed that the unilateral imposition of the fishing moratorium raises tensions in the West Philippine Sea and the South China Sea, and directly contravenes the understanding between President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Chinese President Xi Jinping to manage differences through diplomacy and dialogue and to de-escalate the situation at sea. 

The Philippines called on China to cease and desist from the conduct of illegal actions that violates the Philippines’ sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction in its maritime zones; comply with its obligations under international law, particularly the 1982 UNCLOS and the final and binding 2016 Arbitral Award; and, adhere to its commitments under the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. END

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