A fleet of fishing vessels from China's southernmost province of Hainan is set to start fishing near Yongshu Reef on Monday night, a day after it arrived at the Nansha Islands in the South China Sea.
The fleet of 30 boats, the largest ever launched from the island province, tried fishing late on Sunday, shortly after their arrival at about 5 p.m., but failed because of heavy rain.
Dark clouds were still lingering over the reef on Monday, but the fishermen hoped for the best.
"We pray for a bumper harvest tonight," said one fisherman who asked not to be named.
The fleet, which includes a 3,000-tonne supply ship, is scheduled to spend the next five to 10 days fishing near Yongshu Reef, according to sailors of the fleet.
A patrol vessel from the fishery administration, the Yuzheng-310, has also traveled to the area to provide protection.
China has beefed up patrols in the South China Sea to protect the country's maritime rights and interests as Chinese fishing boats have been frequently harassed or seized by armed ships of neighboring countries.
In late June, China established a new prefectural-level city -- the Sansha city -- to administer the three island groups of Nansha, Xisha and Zhongsha as well as their surrounding waters.