Scarborough Shoal At Risk Due To Cyanide Fishing By Chinese

Tensions are increasing in the South China Sea as the Philippines accuses Chinese fishermen of deliberately using cyanide to damage the Scarborough Shoal, a disputed area between the two countries.

Scarborough Shoal

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in the Philippines has accused Chinese fishermen of causing damage exceeding $17.8 million by using cyanide to destroy Bajo de Masinloc [the Spanish name for the shoal] in order to prevent Filipino fishing boats from operating in the area.

Scarborough Shoal, situated around 124 miles from the Philippines, is an atoll that supports approximately 385,300 individuals by providing them with sustenance and income from the annual catch of 275,520 metric tons of fish.

The atoll has become a geopolitical hotspot because it is abundant in aquatic life and fishing resources, as well as having a sheltered lagoon that provides a safe harbor for boats during storms.

However, the Philippine Coast Guard is unsure about the identity of the party responsible for using cyanide in the Scarborough Shoal, which adds complexity to the story.

The use of cyanide fishing by Filipino fishermen has historically been a quick and effective way to catch fish, but it has had negative impacts on coral reefs, which are already under threat in the Philippines due to both this fishing method and climate change. A square meter of reef is destroyed for every live fish caught using cyanide.

Reference- Reuters, The Philippine Star report, National Geographic, GMA News reports