11/27/2020 Friday

Maritime Fishing Moratorium Ends in Yellow Sea, Bohai Sea

2021-11-18 16:55:40


The four-month-long maritime fishing moratorium in the Yellow Sea and the Bohai Sea concluded on September 1, 2021. The Provincial Bureaus of Liaoning, Hebei, Tianjin and Shandong launched the “Flashing Sword 2021” special law enforcement operation for summer fishing moratorium starting on May 1 this year. During the period, they maintained high pressure on maritime law enforcement to prevent and stop illegal fishing activities and address major fishing-related risks and hazards, successfully completing all tasks.


The Liaoning Provincial Bureau rigorously implemented the “Flashing Sword 2021” special special operation after May 1. It has strictly fought illegal fishing activities, exercised high-handed law enforcement and regulation from the very beginning, and kept order during the fishing ban. By September 1, the Liaoning Provincial Bureau had checked and dealt with 510 illegal fishing ships, filed 97 administrative cases, seized 65,500kg catches, and imposed RMB 3.64 million administrative fines. It had also dealt with 66 ships without name, number, certificate, or port of registry, filed 4 cases of illegal fishing of marine products, and applied criminal coercive measures against 17 people.

The Bureau followed the following regulatory mode during the operation: large-tonnage vessels were stationed at fixed points, small-tonnage vessels carried out the littoral cruise, and high-speed motorboats performed the coastal inspection. It dispatched 18 vessels to be on duty on the sea on a daily average, ensuring around-the-clock law enforcement. In addition to intensifying routine regulation, the Bureau paid special attention to hotspot fishing areas and sensitive sea areas. On May 20 and 30, June 19 and August 15, it conducted four surprise inspections against illegal fishing ships and dealt with more than 100 of them cumulatively, strongly deterring the lawbreakers. The Bureau also installed border and coastal defense surveillance cameras, Beidou fishing ship dynamic monitoring system, and the radar monitoring system for small littoral targets. These systems realized all-day-long monitoring of all types of ships and further improved the all-time, all-terrain and full-process law enforcement system, putting illegal fishing ships under multi-dimensional and precise regulation.

While perfecting the maritime law enforcement system, the Bureau, fully leveraging the Coast Guard workstation’s role as a frontline “fortress”, has formed the onshore taskforce to coordinate with offshore units regarding the illegal fishing ships detected and handled on the sea, so as to shorten the time for investigation and close the cases as soon as possible. At the same time, the Bureau has assigned officers to conduct a thorough screening at all fishing ports, wharves, natural mooring points and marine aquaculture areas across the province to collect basic information about special ships such as high-horsepower motorboats, guarding boats, fishing boats and buoyant rafts, so as to ensure comprehensive and up-to-time data. The Bureau has also made full use of TV, radio and online media to educate the fishermen about the Coast Guard Law, Fisheries Law and maritime fishing moratorium policies at multiple time periods.

During the special operation, the Liaoning Provincial Bureau perfected the cross-departmental coordination mechanism and worked with the people’s government of Liaoning Province to explore a land-sea joint command mode for Coast Guard, public security, and fisheries administration. Under the leadership of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and Department of Public Security, an onshore command group was formed to carry out a 24-hour stake-out at key ports and wharves. Under the leadership of the Liaoning Provincial Bureau, a maritime operation command group was also formed to organize Coast Guard and fishery administration vessels to conduct rigorous regulation on main and unavoidable sea routes for fishing ships. In light of the different activities of fishing ships, including fishing operation, return to port, dock repair and marine aquaculture, the Bureau adopted different work approaches such as inspection, education and punishment. All ships engaged in illegal activities must be brought to the port for investigation and further handling.


Dispatching law enforcement vessels 1,027 times and sailing 34,977 nautical miles in about 120 days, the Hebei Provincial Bureau accomplished the “Flashing Sword 2021” special operation of the maritime fishing moratorium. During the operation, the Bureau captured 141 illegal fishing ships, seized 12,000kg catches, imposed RMB 1,124,700 administrative fines, handled 66 cases of illegal fishing of aquatic products, and adopted criminal coercive measures on 167 people, keeping the waters of Hebei Province safe and stable.

It is learned that the Hebei Provincial Bureau began the summer moratorium law enforcement in early April. It visited the provincial fisheries administration’s law enforcement headquarters several times to discuss the identification and handling of ships without name, number, certificate, or port of registry and the transfer of cases. They signed the Meeting Minutes of the Joint Meeting on Fighting Fishing Ships without Name, Number, Certificate or Port of Registry and Preserving the Order of Marine Fisheries Production in the Sea Areas of Hebei, which provided the institutional support for the cooperation between Coast Guard units and fisheries authorities on various levels.

During the operation, the Hebei Provincial Bureau, emphasizing the criminal crackdown on illegal and criminal fishing activities, coordinated with the Hebei People’s High Court and People’s Procuratorate and jointly issued the Notice on Issues Concerning the Handling of Maritime Criminal Cases. The Notice secured more judicial and procuratorial support for handling criminal cases of illegal fishing and expanded the scope of prosecution against suspects involved in such cases to other crew members that fit the condition of joint crime, thus raising the cost of illegal fishing and squeezing the space of committing crimes to the largest extent. As a result, the idea of “no fishing” during the summer moratorium was more deeply driven home among the fishermen, and the Coast Guard units cemented their authority in firmly preserving maritime security and stability and fighting illegal and criminal activities.

Next, the Hebei Provincial Bureau will consolidate the results achieved during the moratorium and quickly launch the special rectification operation on fishing farms in the fall. It will intensify patrol and inspection in waters under its jurisdiction, and check and deal with law violations such as illegal fishing, competition for and occupation of fishing areas and violation against ship security regulations in accordance with the law, so as to maintain high pressure and ensure safety and stability in the jurisdiction.


After the summer moratorium began, the Tianjin Municipal Bureau attached great importance to maritime law enforcement and regulation and sent vessels for patrol every day to crack down on illegal activities. During the operation, the Bureau dispatched 206 times of vessels and 3,796 personnel and sailed 9,678 nautical miles over a total of 1,999 hours and 45 minutes. It boarded and inspected 118 fishing ships, handled 27 ones, and transferred 22 ones to the Fishing Port Supervision and Management Division of Tianjin Fisheries Administration. The fisheries authorities imposed a cumulative fine of RMB 159,000, filed ten criminal cases and eight public security cases, captured over 49,000kg catches, detained 16 vehicles, confiscated 4 sets of clam pumps, seized 26 suspects and adopted criminal coercive measures on 15. With the help of information previously collected from the communities, the Bureau visited 36 wharves, 8 fishing ports, and 29 fishing enterprises, and handed out more than 800 leaflets and posted more than 50 streamers and posters onshore.

The Tianjin Municipal Bureau participated in the “Flashing Sword 2021” maritime fishing moratorium joint law enforcement operation in the North Sea from May 1 to 20 and from July 25 to August 15. It worked closely with fisheries authorities and they jointly seized 7 illegal fishing ships, 14 suspects, and more than 40,000kg catches, and confiscated 2 fishing ships and 4 sets of clam pumps, making great achievements.

In the next step, the Tianjin Municipal Bureau, in conjunction with the “Blue Sea 2021” and “National Sword 2021” special operations, will make overall deployments to intensify patrol and regulation in sensitive waters and at key links. It will carry out land-sea inspection and maritime patrol and strengthen regular supervision and inspection across the board and in the full process. It will work with other maritime departments to analyze the features and patterns of maritime violations and crimes in the second half of the year, improve communication and coordination with those departments, and share resources and data in order to crack harder down on all kinds of illegal and criminal activities in the jurisdiction.


After the summer fishing moratorium began, coast guard units of all levels in Shandong Province boarded and inspected 539 fishing ships cumulatively, seized 82 illegal ships, filed 30 administrative cases and 6 criminal cases, imposed RMB 1,079,000 fines, confiscated more than 25,000kg catches and 600 fishing nets, and adopted criminal coercive measures against 11 people. The actions and measures taken by Shandong Provincial Bureau displayed the following characteristics.

First, the Bureau intensified analysis and study to deepen regulation at the source. It selected more than 200 fishermen and wharf and aquaculture managers as information collectors to broaden the channels of information acquisition. It regularized the consultation and joint meeting mechanisms with other maritime agencies to jointly study the phased situation of the moratorium, and incorporated them in the intelligence system of the provincial Public Security Department. In particular, these agencies exchanged information about cross-border fishing, detention of Chinese fishing ships by the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), and endangered or missing fishing ships promptly to come up with countermeasures and solutions. The Bureau also established the fishing port and wharf joint patrol mechanism with public security and fisheries authorities.

Second, the Bureau identified clear highlights to enhance law enforcement efficiency. It identified key periods, key areas and key targets, improved the action plans for moratorium regulation and foreign-related fishing regulation, implemented the “grid” regulatory mode, and intensified the layered regulation covering “fishing ports, coastlines and sea areas”. It kept a close eye on sensitive sea areas and dispute-prone waters on the juncture between Shandong and Liaoning, Hebei and Jiangsu, and laid special stress on fishing ships without name, number, certificate, or port of registry, using fake license, using forbidden fishing tools, or undergoing illegal painting or modification. The Bureau also continuously intensified maritime patrol and boarded ships for inspection more often. Upholding the principle of “thorough tracing and maximal punishment”, it detained all ships suspected of illegal operation for further investigation, and, after punishment, ordered them to return to the port of registry and stop fishing during the moratorium. Those engaged in criminal activities were held criminally accountable.

Third, the Bureau closely coordinated with other departments to form regulatory synergy. It took the initiative to communicate with other maritime departments, issued the Notice on Strengthening the Regulation of Foreign-related Fishing Ships during Summer Fishing Moratorium in conjunction with the provincial Public Security Department and Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and perfected such work mechanisms as information sharing and alignment between administrative law enforcement and criminal justice. It pushed maritime authorities to jointly implement “ten special operations of maritime fishing moratorium of Shandong Province” targeting foreign-related fishing ships, illegal fishing vessels and tools, special economic species, fishing intermediaries and markets. The close coordination and united efforts of these authorities realized full-process regulation and full-chain suppression of illegal activities.

Fourth, the Bureau conducted publicity and education to deter the criminals. It consistently carried out online and offline publicity and education to sharpen public awareness of the moratorium and urge them to comply with relevant rules. Officers of the Shandong Provincial Bureau publicized the moratorium policies in grassroots communities and among fishermen through over 10 means, including hanging up banners and slogans, sending short messages, giving instructions, providing informants’ hotline through online media, and creating short videos. The Bureau also disclosed more than 50 typical cases on local media platforms to expand the influence and create a sound atmosphere of law compliance.

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