It’s been a year since SCSPI exposed Vietnamese fishing vessels’ intrusion into Chinese waters near Mainland China and Hainan Island, has this problem got any better?
In December, a total of 6,760 Vietnamese fishing vessels with 78,498 tracking points were recorded by the AIS in the whole South China Sea, basically static with those in November, and down by more than a third compared with the peak in July.
Rarely seen were those operated in the waters of Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia. However, there were quite some intruding into part of China’s jurisdictional waters near Mainland China and Hainan Island.
According to the AIS statistics, in December, at least 114 Vietnamese fishing vessels intruded into part of China’s jurisdictional waters near Mainland China and Hainan Island, dropping slightly compared with 130 in November. (As illustrated in the figure below, the scope covers the waters of the Beibu Gulf, excluding China’s maritime domain within the common fishery zones; the territorial seas and internal waters of Guangdong Province and the Hainan Island; the southeastern waters of the Hainan Island, as well as the area within around 30 NM beyond the Guangdong Province’s territorial seas.)
Most of the intruding Vietnamese fishing vessels were spotted in the waters of the Beibu Gulf on the Chinese side, among which 52 intruded into China’s territorial seas and internal waters, demonstrating a slight increase compared to 48 in November.
Owing to months of built-up law enforcement efforts from China Coast Guard and local authorities, and external factors such as extreme weather and not in fishing season, Vietnamese IUU fishing activities in China’s waters maintained a relatively low level in the fourth quarter of 2020, compared with the whole year.