"This is the largest number of Vietnamese who have ever been caught. As far as I can remember, we have never caught these many (foreign) fishermen and fishing vessels," Hicban, the regional police commander, told AFP.
Vietnamese embassy personnel said they had no information about the arrests and were checking on the report.
Hicban said the fishermen would probably face charges of illegal entry and illegal fishing.
Police at the scene have not yet said if any endangered species were found on their boats which could result in more serious accusations, he said.
Hicban stressed that the Vietnamese were caught off the coast of Palawan and were not in disputed waters of the South China Sea that are subject to conflicting claims by the Philippines, Vietnam, China and other countries.
"They were caught well within our territorial waters, far from the Spratlys," he said, referring to a disputed island chain in the South China Sea.
In recent years, many Vietnamese and Chinese fishermen have been caught poaching in the waters off Palawan, in some cases with endangered species such as sea turtles.
Earlier this month, a Vietnamese police chief reported that two Vietnamese fishermen were shot and wounded by men wearing Philippine uniforms in the Spratlys. However Philippine authorities denied any knowledge of the incident.(AFP)
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