Fishing vessels set off for Nansha Islands

Updated: 2012-07-13 02:39

By Huang Yiming in Sanya, Hainan, and Jin Haixing in Beijing (China Daily)

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A joint oceangoing fishing operation involving 30 boats set sail for the Nansha Islands in the South China Sea on Thursday from South China's Hainan province.

It is one of the largest fishing activities in Hainan's history, according to the local fishery authority.

Their destination for the 20-day fishing operation is near the waters of Yongshu Reef.

According to local fishery authorities, the fleet consists of a 3,000-ton supply vessel and 29 fishing boats.

Among them, 18 belong to the Sanya Haiyu Fishers' Association and 11 are from the Sanya Yufeng Fishers' Association. They will be divided into several teams when fishing.

The fleet has a chief commander, three deputy commanders and a control team that will arrange and coordinate the operation of each team, said Zhang Huazhong, director of the Sanya marine and fishery bureau.

Ships patrolling the waters around the Sansha area and related departments will be prepared to meet urgent situations for the fishery operation, he said.

"The vessels are totally different from the old ones. They have the Beidou Navigation System, and the sailors in the vessels are professional," Lu Guangxian, the captain of Qiong Sanya 72029, one of the 29 fishing vessels, told China Daily.

Every year the fishermen in Hainan organize a month-long fishing operation on their own, but this time the fishers' associations are involved.

"With the participation of the associations, we will be better organized and can support each other in an emergency. The operation is a trial of oceangoing fishing. The Nansha Islands have plenty of fish resources. If this time we have a good harvest, we will go to Nansha more frequently," said Zhang Guanfu, captain of Qiong Sanya 7250.

The waters around Sansha have a potential fishery volume of 5 million metric tons every year. But currently Hainan has only 80,000 tons of fishing production.

In late June, China established Sansha city to administer the three island groups of Nansha, Xisha and Zhongsha. The new city also covers the islands' surrounding waters.

China is considering setting up a legislative body in the newly established city. Sources said on Thursday that the Standing Committee of the Hainan Provincial People's Congress will deliberate on a motion to set up an organizing committee for the legislative body in Sansha.