Will Filipino fishermen be able to fish in Scarborough after tribunal ruling?


When the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) hands down its verdict on Tuesday, 5 p.m. Manila time (11 a.m. in The Hague), it will rule on the Philippines’ 15 submissions, one of which may have an important practical implication on Filipino fishermen.

That is Submission No. 10, where the Philippines protested that “China has unlawfully prevented Philippine fishermen from carrying out traditional fishing activities within the territorial sea of Scarborough Shoal.”

Submission No. 10 is one of 7 Philippine submissions which the PCA had earlier ruled to have jurisdiction of in its Award of Jurisdiction and Admissibility on October 29, 2015. The rest will have to be decided in conjunction with the merits of the Philippines’ case.

In its characterization of the dispute, the PCA summarized the Philippine position as follows:

“The Philippines has requested that the Tribunal determine the status – as an island, rock, low-tide elevation, or submerged feature – of nine maritime features, namely: Scarborough Shoal, Mischief Reef, Second Thomas Shoal, Subi Reef, Gaven Reef, and McKennan Reef (including Hughes Reef), Johnson Reef, Cuarteron Reef, and Feiry Cross Reef” … in Philippines’ submission no. 3, 4, 6, and 7.”

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