Chinese Fishermen Destroy Philippine Coral Reefs In Pursuit Of Giant Clams

By John Virata

The Chinese government is destroying coral reef ecosystems in an effort to claim virtually all of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) as its territory, and Chinese fisherman have been purposely destroying coral reefs in an effort to poach endangered giant clams off the coast of the Spratly Islands in Philippine waters, according to a BBC News report.


The BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes flew out to the disputed islands on a tip that the Chinese were destroying the reefs. When he arrived, he filmed Chinese fishermen chaining their boats to the reefs and then literally pulling the reefs apart. Wingfield-Hayes then dove under the water to survey the reefs and was appalled by what he witnessed. Complete and total destruction is what he said occurred. “It is just like a desert. It has been turned into a desert underneath here.”

Chinese fishermen are destroying Philippine reef ecosystems in pursuit of giant clams such as this Tridacna sp. Photo by John Virata
It seemed so illogical. Why would fishermen, even poachers, destroy a whole coral system like this?” Why? Because the Chinese can and disregards all laws with regard to the sea. The Philippine government sued China in the UN Courts in an effort to stop the building of fake islands that China thinks will bolster their claim of all the ocean in the so-called 9-dash line. The UN has agreed to hear the claim, but China still wishes to bully its weaker neighbors and it is doing so successfully, at the expense of sensitive ecosystems in the region. The coral reef habitats are now fair game for destruction throughout virtually all of the South China Sea.

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