One of the World’s Biggest Fisheries Is on the Verge of Collapse

By Rachael Bale

PUBLISHED August 29, 2016

Major disputes in the South China Sea are putting critical habitat—and the food supply of millions—at risk.

PUERTO PRINCESA, PhilippinesYears ago Christopher Tubo caught a 660-pound blue marlin in the South China Sea. The fishing was good there, he says. Tuna fishermen would come home from a trip with dozens of the high-value fish as well as a good haul of other species.
“Here there’s none of that,” he says, looking toward the Sulu Sea, the Philippine sea where he’s been fishing for the past four years. His two boats, traditional Filipino outriggers called bancas, float in the shallow water nearby, new coats of white paint drying in the sun.
Tubo is sitting on a wooden bench in front of his home, which perches on stilts above the bay. One of his four kids wraps an arm around his leg. Worn T-shirts and shorts flutter on clotheslines behind them.

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