An annual fishing ban on the northern part of the South China Sea will begin on Thursday, aiming to further protect marine resources and promote environmental awareness among fishermen.
About 20,000 fishing boats from the provinces of Guangdong and Hainan and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region will be affected, according to Wu Zhuang, director of the South China Seas Fishery Bureau under the Ministry of Agriculture.
"Foreign boats will also be strictly banned from fishing in the area during the period," said Wu.
Fishing equipment will be confiscated and fishermen will be expelled if foreign boats are found fishing in the area, which is north at a latitude 12 degrees, according to Wu.
"In the past, we have found some foreign boats entering the region to fish during the period of the ban. We will strengthen monitoring efforts to prevent any foreign boats from entering the area," said Wu.
The annual ban, which was first introduced in 1999, will be lifted on August 1.