Satellite Photo of Pratas Islands/Source from SPOT Satellite

   The Pratas Islands are located in the northern part of the South China Sea. They form a very important maritime chokepoint in the Taiwan Strait. There are three ring atolls in the Pratas Islands: Pratas Atoll, South Vereker Atoll and North Vereker Atoll. Pratas Island is 2800 x 865m, including 1.74 square kilometers of land, and 0.64 square kilometers of lagoon. It is one of the biggest islands in the South China Sea. There is fresh water and many coconut trees on the island. The island was first occupied by Chinese in the Ming Dynasty. The area around the island used to be rich in marine resources. Many fishermen from Taiwan, Hong Kong and south coast of China fished there. However, as a result of unrestricted fishing sometimes using dynamite the number of fish has decreased considerably, and the coral reefs have also been seriously damaged.