The seasonal fishing ban in China comes into force on 1 May 2021. As the number of fishing vessels in Chinese waters is expected to increase in the period leading up to this date, ship operators and masters are advised to take additional precautions when planning a voyage to and from Chinese ports during this period.
Gard’s correspondent in China, Huatai Insurance Agency and Consultant Service Ltd., recently published a circular warning of an increase in fishing traffic in the Bohai Sea, the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, and the waters north of 12°N of South China Sea as the start of this year’s seasonal fishing ban is approaching. Huatai Circular PNI  05 of 22 April 2021 outlines the time periods for each location and includes key points from an advisory issued by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Areas.
Worth noting is that the seasonal fishing ban takes effect on 1 May 2021 in all locations and previous experience suggests the number of fishing vessels will increase in the period leading up to this date. Likewise, an increase in fishing vessel traffic can be expected immediately after the ban ceases in each location, which will be between 16 August and 16 September depending on location.
Our correspondent advises ship operators and masters to take additional precautions when planning a voyage to and from Chinese ports during these special times and emphasises the importance of maintaining a proper lookout and staying in close contact with the nearest VTS center and pilot station.
Additional information on key characteristics of fishing areas and frequency of collisions, as well as recommendations on how avoid incidents with fishing vessels in Chinese waters, are also outlined in our alert Expected rise in the number of fishing vessels in Chinese waters - Update of 17 August 2020. Our key recommendations are reiterated below:
If a collision occurs, or is suspected to have occurred, the master and crews must render all possible assistance to the fishing vessel and contact the nearest VTS/MSA via VHF or by calling their emergency telephone number. We also stress the importance of maintaining a record of all evidence, including VDR data.
We thank our correspondent Huatai Insurance Agency and Consultant Service Ltd. for providing the above information.