Chinese Fishing Vessel Grounded on Tubbataha Reef in the Philippines

Min Long Yu entered protected UNESCO site with intention of poaching, Philippine officials say.

Written by
John Virata

Update: April 15, 2013: Upon a second inspection of the cargo hold of the Min Long Yu, Philippine authorities discovered more than 22,000 lbs (10,000 kilograms) of scaly anteater meat, a species that has been banned from trading since 2002.

According to an Associated Press report, the Sunda or Malayan anteater and the Chinese anteater are listed as endangered and the Philippine anteater is classified as near threatened by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN). 

The report says that the meat and scales of the anteater are sold for hundreds of dollars per kilogram in China, where it is believed to cure various health ailments.

Tubbataha Reef, a Philippine mecca for marine life has suffered another blow as a Chinese fishing vessel has become stuck on the reef at the UNESCO World Heritage Site. According to a report released by World Wildlife Fund Philippines, the 157 foot Min Long Yu ran aground April 8, on Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park’s  North Atoll, 1.1 nautical miles east of the ranger station.

The 12 crew members on the boat will be charged with illegal entry and possibly poaching, as various fishing gear were found aboard the ship. The crew members allegedly attempted to bribe the rangers with money, but the rangers refused. The crew members have been taken into custody and the ship, if it can be removed from the reef on its own power, will be sent to Puerto Princesa, the capital city of Palawan. Currently the Philippine government has not done anything to stop the poaching of marine life off the reef and in the surrounding waters, and Philippine politicians are urging maritime authorities to be more vigilant in patrolling the protected reef.

The Min Long Yu is the seventh Chinese vessel caught in the World Heritage Site since 2002, according to WWF/Philippines, and more than 660 Chinese have been arrested for fishing illegally in Philippine waters. In 2006, 30 Chinese poachers were apprehended aboard the Hoi Wan 1.5 nautical miles off Tubbataha’s South Atoll. In their ships holds were 2,300 fish, including live grouper, red snapper, and 359 endangered and protected Napoleon wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus), which can grow up to 10 feet in length.

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“Unlike the USS Guardian, this is clearly a commercial fishing vessel – which means it is likely that they entered Tubbataha to fish. However,” WWF-Philippines Vice-chair and CEO Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan said in a statement. “It is well-known that Tubbataha is a no-take zone.”
“The F/V Min Long Yu not only planned to rob us of food by attempting to fish within our territorial waters – it gave Tubbataha its second black-eye, virtually obliterating a portion of a reef which generates food for millions of Filipinos,” Tan said. “We respect all cultures, but those who continually defy our laws are sabotaging legitimate trade between our nations, making their countrymen lose face. Make no mistake, WWF will not take kindly to poachers.”


The park is located in the middle of the Sulu Sea and encompasses nearly 100,000 hectares (247,000 acres) of marine habitat, including three atolls. Thousands of marine species call the park home, many of which are familiar in the aquarium trade.

Article Categories:
Fish · Lifestyle

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