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Fishery guilds ink deal to quell fishing disputes
By Zhao Huanxin (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-12-09 00:42

Fishery associations of China, South Korea and Japan yesterday appealed to fishing operations to refrain from resorting to violence in fishing disputes and marine emergencies.

The plea was signed by the presidents of the groups yesterday in Beijing as part of activities to mark the 50th anniversary of the China Fisheries Association.

Non-governmental organizations, rather than government departments, usually head efforts to end spats and skirmishes between the fleets that operate on the East China Sea and the Yellow Sea, said Ma Weijun, an official with Fisheries Bureau under Chinese Ministry of Agriculture.

Implementation of fishing pacts between China and its neighbours, including South Korea, Japan and Viet Nam over the past few years has prompted thousands of Chinese fishing boats to withdraw from China's traditional fishing grounds, according to the ministry sources.

Even if fishing fleets strictly honour the pacts, marine accidents and disputes between the different countries are inevitable when winds and currents are factored in, said a ministry statement.

The number of Chinese fishing disputes with South Korea and Japan was not immediately available from officials.

To maintain order at sea and keep disputes at bay, yesterday's proposal asks fleet workers to respect each other's habits and abide by fishing pacts, while assuming their duties to conserving aquatic resources.

In case disputes do occur, they should not be solved on the spot, and the parties concerned should turn to civilian organizations for consultation and resolution, suggested the proposal.

The proposal said the three fisheries associations should strengthen exchanges and draft a manual to foster better communications.

It also urges observing environmental protection statutes.

The joint document was signed by Qi Jingfa, head of China Fisheries Association and his South Korean counterpart Park Kyu-seok and President of Japan Fisheries Association Isao Nakasu.

Qi said his association has entered into agreements with South Korean and Japanese organizations in handling accidents and rifts through consultation and co-ordination.

Park Kyu-seok of South Korea Fisheries Association yesterday said he believed the enhanced efforts among the associations will help avoid disputes.

He said language differences area problem and his organization is helping better understanding by providing guidance.

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