The death of a US fisherman caught by fishing boats in South China Sea in late November has raised questions about the use of fishing gear by foreign nations and raised concerns about the sustainability of fishing practices in the region.
According to a statement from the Department of Justice, 49-year-old Robert J. Lee died of blunt force trauma to the head in the early hours of November 24 when he was caught by a US fishing vessel near the Spratly Islands in the South China sea.
Lee was a licensed US fisherman and had been working in the area since 2015, according to the statement.US President Donald Trump had said during his presidential campaign that the use and abuse of fishing equipment in the Asia-Pacific region was one of the biggest threats to the planet.
“It’s sad, and it’s very concerning, to hear about the death of Robert Lee,” said US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) spokesperson Kristin Richey.
“We want to encourage all the countries in the world to stop using these types of fishing devices and to work together to address the global threat of illegal fishing and pollution.”
The American fisherman who died in this incident was one who cared about the oceans, and he will be sorely missed by the many Americans who are fishing for fish in the Pacific.
“Lee, who was originally from North Carolina, was a father of two and a grandfather to two, according the FWS.
The company’s statement said Lee had been a “lifelong advocate for the fishing industry” and was “a hard-working and caring leader who devoted his life to protecting fish, whales and marine wildlife.””
Lee’s death was the third of its kind for a US fisher in the past three months. “
He was beloved by his colleagues, customers, and the fishing communities he served.”
Lee’s death was the third of its kind for a US fisher in the past three months.
In June, 24-year‑old Mark T. Miller was caught fishing near the Philippines in the same area.
He died in a hospital a week later, the US Fish & Wildlife Service said.
In April, another US fisherman was caught on fishing gear while on a fishing trip near the Paracels in the Sprats region of the Philippines.
That incident, as well as other recent deaths of fishermen, has raised concerns over the use by foreign governments of fishing techniques and the safety of fishers.US Vice President Mike Pence said during a visit to South Korea in May that the US had concerns about Chinese fishing practices.
He said the use in the sea was illegal, and warned of the dangers posed by the use.
In late September, the FWC said it was investigating whether the use or abuse of a fishing gear was the reason for the death.