The current fishing ban in China, issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, will be lifted in South China Sea from 16 August 2018, the UK Club said citing information by correspondents Huatai Insurance Agency. Following this, the waters of East China Sea, Yellow Sea and Bohai Sea will see the ban lifted in September.
The applicable areas and timeframes for the 2018 fishing ban were almost the same as 2017, however, two more provisions were added, including:
- The ban of Set-net fishing started on 01 May, for the period of no less than 3 months, and the end of ban is determined by local authorities.
- If an auxiliary fishing boat is required for certain types of fishing, which cause slight damage to resources within the ban period, local authorities have the authority to amend the regulations.
Collision accidents of merchant ships and fishing boats are seen frequently in the area, from August to October, when the fishing season ends and the fishing season starts.
Ships sailing in that area should pay careful attention to fishing vessels and take measures to avoid collision accidents:
- Designated fishing zones as well as the waters where collision incident happens frequently should be taken into account when designing the route, including the surrounding environment, temperature and tide, as well as the period of fishing ban. Fishing nets or fishing boats should also be carefully noted throughout coastal navigation. In waters where traffic separation scheme is applied, ships should follow such scheme strictly; in water where no such scheme is in place, ships should navigate within the main channel as much as possible.
- If ships enter into fishing areas, they should ensure full compliance with relevant provisions of COLREGS 1972 and SMS.
- Officers or watchman should be familiar with operation characteristics of fishing boats, such as trawlers. Crewmembers should also keep proper lookout and make the radar activated in time. Furthermore, ships should sail at safe speed, be well prepared and maintain low speed while approaching the fishery areas.
- Ships should make full usage of radar and sound fog-signal even though no fishing boat is found on radar during navigation in fog.
- It should also be taken into consideration that as a local custom, the fishing boats of coastal areas of Zhejiang, Fujian and Guangdong provinces prefer to cut in ship’s bow.
- Normally, after the fishing ban ends, thousands of fishing boats will sail to the fishing area in the same direction. In this situation, collision avoidance plans should be made in advance. Considering that the fishing boat fleets are mostly unwilling to let the merchant vessels sail among them, ships are recommended to avoid sailing across the fishing boat fleets to prevent collision.
- Merchant vessels should stop engine immediately once breaking into or crossing fishing net in order to avoid the fishing net to fall afoul of propeller.
- Merchant vessels should also take active measures to avoid collision with power-driven fishing boats, even when they are not engaged in fishing operation.