SAN ANTONIO, ZAMBALES—More than 1,500 fishermen in Masinloc have totally deserted the contested Scarborough Shoal, which for decades served as their traditional fishing ground.
Fisherman Bobby Roldan revealed they have not been near the shoal since January, as the fear of getting driven away by the Chinese vessels occupying the area has forced them to look for other areas to fish or to find alternative sources of livelihood.
“It’s now scary to go there. The harassment of Filipino fishermen by the Chinese Coast Guard occupying these islands in the West Philippine Sea is a serious threat to us,” Roldan, the vice chair of the fisher group Pamalakaya in Central Luzon, told the Inquirer in interview on Thursday.
Locally known as Panatag or Bajo de Masinloc, the shoal is a triangle-shaped chain of reefs and islands around a 150-kilometer wide lagoon.
Abundant marine resources in the shoal and its surrounding waters draw fishermen from both China and the Philippines, which both claim it as part of their territory.
It is located inside the country’s 370-km exclusive economic zone. The closest Philippine land mass is Palauig town, also in Zambales, which is about 220 km away.
Read more: https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1423074/zambales-fishers-abandon-dangerous-scarborough-shoal#ixzz6t600m1vj
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