Shippers warned of increased congestion in fishing areas off China

The summer fishing ban off the Chinese coast is coming to a phased end in August and September, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MOA) has said, starting August 16th.

To regulate the shipping traffic and prevent collisions between merchant vessels and fishing vessels in Fujian waters (including the ports of Ningde, Fuzhou, Quanzhou, Xiamen and Zhangzhou) the Fujian MSA, together with Fujian Ocean and Fishery Bureau (FOFB), has announced the first batch of 10 s-called high-risk warning areas.

The warning areas are based on AIS track data and analysis results of collisions between merchant ships and fishing boats along Fujian coast during the past decade.

Correspondent Oasis P&I Services has released a circular giving more details of the high-risk areas which also includes a schematic plan of the warning areas and a translation of the guidance issued by China MSA.

Several Group Clubs recommended that members warn their crew of the increased fishing traffic and to exercise caution when transiting in waters off Fujian.

The main risks in the 10 high-risk areas are:

  1. The overlapping of merchant ships’ route with the fishing boats’ operational waters.
  2. The high density of merchant ships and fishing boats.
  3. Merchant ships’ routes are close to the waters of the fishing ports, and ships’ routes meet the traffic flow of the inbound and outbound fishing boats.

Collisions between merchant ships and fishing boats were said to have occurred “frequently” over the years.