HANGZHOU - An East China fisherman has been jailed for a year in the country's first court case involving illegal fishing during a seasonal ban.
Ma Baoguang, the owner of two fishing vessels, was convicted of illegally fishing in the East China Sea, said a statement from Jiaojiang District People's Court in Taizhou city, Zhejiang province, Wednesday.
The court had heard that a patrol vessel with the city's marine and fishery law enforcement department found Ma's vessels operating illegally.
One of Ma's boats twice attempted to speed towards the patrol vessel to prevent the crew carrying out their duties.
Zhu Jiali, an enforcement officer with the provincial maritime and fisheries bureau, said the bureau had monitored a rising number of illegal fishing activities during the three-month fishing ban since it began in 1995.
"Administrative fines cannot effectively deter illegal fishing. Ma's case will send a warning of the government's reinforced law enforcement," he said.
Illegal hauls during a fishing ban can incur fines of up to 50,000 yuan ($7,600). Law enforcement authorities can also revoke offshore fishing licenses.
China has imposed fishing bans in all of the country's surrounding sea areas to sustain the fish stocks. Prices of sea food often soar by 20 percent during the bans.