China touts beefed up fishery patrols in South China Sea
Wu Zhuang, China's fishery chief for the South China Sea, said in the report that in 2012, each of his department's ships was on patrol 183 days on average and each of their crew members spent an average 150 days at sea. Some crew members did up to 250 days on duty, he said, adding that all of the numbers were record highs.
"The past year saw the most challenges and the most powerful presence of China's fishery boats in the South China Sea," Wu said. "It awaked public awareness of the importance of the sea to the country."
China will continue to strengthen its law enforcement in the South China Sea this year, and will carry out regular fishery patrols there beginning 2014, Wu said.
As a marine power, China sees fishery as a vital part of its agriculture and economy, he said. Some of the country's top priorities include increasing the incomes of fishermen by developing marine fishing, ensuring reliable supplies of fishery products, and speeding up the economic development of coastal areas, Wu said.