Article

Fisheries Cooperation in the South China Sea: Evaluating the Options

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the author.

Abstract

Given the complicated nature of the South China Sea (SCS) disputes, resolving the disputes in the foreseeable future remains highly unlikely. Proper management of these disputes to ensure stability in the South China Sea becomes a priority. There is a general consensus that the best approach for managing the disputes in the SCS is to set aside the sovereignty disputes and jointly develop and manage the natural resources, such as fisheries. While advancing fisheries cooperation in the SCS has been increasingly recognized as a political, ecological, socioeconomic and security imperative, two crucial questions remain insufficiently addressed: what objectives should be achieved via fisheries cooperation in the SCS and are the prevailing fisheries cooperation options feasible and effective in achieving these objectives? The author makes the case that three primary objectives need to be accomplished, namely, 1) achieving food security and economic development, 2) ensuring sustainable fishery and protecting marine environment, and 3) preventing fishing conflicts and disputes. Using these three key objectives as evaluation criteria, the author then investigates the feasibility and effectiveness of three prevailing options, including Marine Protected Areas (MPA)/Marine Peace Park, Regional Fishery Management Organizations (RFMO), and aquaculture.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

... In the current situation, scholars and commentators warn that this looming fishing crisis in the SCS is becoming a textbook example of a tragedy of the commons (TOC) [2,[8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16]. While the need to avert a TOC in fisheries has long been ascribed paramount importance in the regional and international communities, governance of the SCS fisheries remains weak, and opinions regarding the potential solutions remain divided [17,18]. Meanwhile, ever since Hardin's ground-breaking article in 1968 which proclaimed that "freedom in a commons brings ruin to all" [19], multi-disciplinary researchers, practitioners, and policymakers have embarked on decades of studies of the TOC to advance relevant knowledge, improve governance, and create sustainable solutions for commons. ...
... Although few academic papers on fisheries governance in the SCS are directly related to the commons literature, most of the policy options suggested implicitly accept Hardin's Hobbesian frame under which the only way to avoid the TOC is to institute strict measures of control, backed up by force [67]. Researchers concur that the looming fishing crisis in the SCS is primarily due to the absence of a competent centralized authority to govern fishing issues [18,[68][69][70][71]. Therefore, most of the existing policy proposals on advancing fisheries governance in the SCS focus on government intervention. ...
... Finally, when fishing pressure is high, neither the intervention of supranational authorities or the application of market-based approaches such as privatisation is likely to effectively curb overfishing. For instance, as far as the effectiveness of MPAs and RMFOs is concerned, the likelihood of protection decreases as fishing pressures grow [18,79,80]. ...
Article
The South China Sea (SCS) fisheries crisis is becoming a textbook example of the tragedy of the commons (TOC). The discussion of the SCS fisheries governance, however, has been poorly informed by the rich findings of the studies on the commons. The Prisoner's Dilemma (PD) game model is most widely applied to examining collective action problems, including the social dilemma faced by fishers in the SCS. While generations of studies have shed light on how cooperation in the PD model could be improved, two important factors are overlooked, namely, the real motivation of the fishers and the boundary issue when the model is applied to a large scale fishery commons. Taking these two factors into consideration, the "exit" and "move" options need to be granted to the players in the PD model. In this paper, I show that incorporating the 'exit' and 'move' options into the PD model can generate new insights on how to improve fishery governance and avert the TOC in the SCS. The findings offered in this paper can help avert fishing crises in other regions, as well as other commons challenges.
... Disputes remain rife in the South China Sea (SCS) regarding territorial boundaries and the sovereignty of islands and rocks. Whilst complete resolution of these matters in the near future remains highly unlikely, there is a general consensus that in order to ensure stability and promote peace at some level, claimant countries should set aside territorial disputes and focus on the natural resources of the sea [1][2][3][4]. These are vital to the millions of fishermen and consumers who depend on them but are threatened by overexploitation [5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13]. ...
... Secondly, many natural resources of the SCS are migratory and so transboundary in nature [14][15][16][17] which means all the countries have to share the responsibility of protecting them in order to benefit themselves. Thirdly, a focus on an issue of low politics, such as fisheries and marine environmental cooperation, has the potential to generate the necessary trust for cooperation on high political concerns such as territorial issues [1]. Lastly, failure to address the dire state of natural resources in the SCS may exacerbate political tensions as countries struggle to share ever-dwindling resources in the future. ...
... Holistic agreements can take a variety of forms including multilateral declarations and regional fisheries bodies (RFBs), which are typically consultative or advisory but do not have the power to establish management and conservation measures [99]. For this reason, a Regional fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) which is more authoritative is increasingly acknowledged as a more suitable option for the SCS [1]. ...
Article
There is general consensus that claimants to the South China Sea (SCS) should set aside territorial disputes and cooperate to preserve the natural resources of the sea. These resources are vital to millions of fishermen and consumers but are severely overexploited. Failure to prevent further exploitation or replenish stocks will exacerbate tensions in the SCS as countries compete for dwindling resources. Understanding how and where to start cooperating is a topic of much debate, and few ideas have gained enough traction for implementation. This report suggests that agreements can be built from existing commonalities in national laws and policies concerning fisheries and the marine environment. Utilizing these commonalities could help to build confidence by showing that despite disputes, there are in fact similarities and areas of alignment. This would not only build confidence but may serve as a less contentious route toward cooperation, because countries are agreeing - at a regional level - on criteria they already agree on at a national level. This concept is explored by looking at the fisheries and marine environmental laws and policies of China, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.
... Beyond the widespread depletion of marine fisheries resources, conflicts over access and allocation is a growing security concern (Hilborn, 2007;Spijkers et al., 2018;Zhang, 2018). Fisheries resources in China are much like the commons: access is restricted, but licensed fishermen can exploit these resources relatively freely (Yu and Yu, 2008;Shen and Heino, 2014). ...
... The economic aspect was quantified based on catch values (2016 constant price, national currency). The data on historical catch records, number of traditional fishers and human populations dependent on marine fisheries were acquired from the China Fishery Statistical Yearbook (Fisheries Bureau of the Ministry of Agriculture, 2016Agriculture, , 20172018). Due to limited data availability, catch values were calculated based on the average price of marine capture fisheries for each fishing province and the catches reported for the Bohai Sea. Based on the third national agricultural census, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) in combination with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) adjusted the China fishery statistical data. ...
... In an effort to reconcile economic development with environmental quality and human well-being, the concept of eco-civilization is increasingly emphasized in Chinese fisheries development (Cao et al., 2017). Overcapacity is a fundamental problem in China (Szuwalski et al., 2017), but the rising demand for fishery products and limited employment opportunities add the pressure in marine ecosystem and the frequency of fishery conflicts (Zhang et al., 2018). Effective management measures are essential for the sustainability of domestic marine capture fisheries. ...
Article
Developing equitable quota allocation schemes can contribute to achieving long-term ecological and economic sustainability of a nation’s fishery resources. Taking the Bohai Sea as a case study, we explored the biological reasons for fishery conflicts using survey data from the Yellow Sea Fisheries Research Institute, and further developed a multi-criteria allocation approach from biological, social and economic aspects and investigated eight allocation scenarios based on the national fishery statistical data. Results showed that fishery conflicts in the Bohai Sea were mainly caused by large annual variations in fish abundance, some high abundance areas occurring near jurisdictional boundaries, and biologically limited fisheries which had become overfished. Allocation approaches with multiple weighted criteria were more stable and acceptable compared with those solely based on one aspect. Percentage shares in Liaoning Province, Hebei Province, Shandong Province, and Tianjin Municipality were 30.2 %, 21.0 %, 47.6 %, and 1.2 % respectively based on the application of an entropy method. Instead of base allocation schemes which rely solely on biological factors such as historical catch records, these results highlight the importance of incorporating socioeconomic factors into decisions about catch quota allocation.
... Except for the joint development of hydrocarbons, some academics (Kao, Pearre and Firestone, 2012;Nguyen, 2012;Zhang, 2018;Kao and Pearre, 2018) drew their attention to the possibility of cooperation in terms of fishery management and conservation. Contrary to oil and gas exploitation, fishery has been perceived as both less controversial and costly area fostering cooperation between the claimants and may serve as a confidence-building measure between the involved entities aiming at decreasing tension in the region. ...
... Moreover, overfishing and illegal fishing have become one of the major issues threatening the food security of the Southeast Asia, where approximately 77 percent of people depend on pelagic fishery as their main source of daily proteins. Furthermore, not only is illegal, unreported and unregulated (IIU) fishing the cause of fish stock depletion, but also it is associated with various crimes, including smuggling and slavery (Zhang, 2018). ...
... The littoral states of the Southeast Asia have tried to address the problem of IIU fishing and environmental damage by establishing various forms of cooperation. At the international level, institutions, such as the Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC), the East Asian Sea Regional Seas Programme, the Partnership in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia and the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) were established (Kao, Pearre and Firestone, 2012;Zhang, 2018). Attempts at managing fisheries have also been undertaken at the bilateral, the Gulf of Tonkin Fishery Agreement signed by China and Vietnam, being the foremost example (Zhang, 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this article is to examine two treaties which are often presented by scholars as potential models for a maritime regime in the South China Sea, namely the Svalbard Treaty and the Antarctic Treaty System. The work concludes that even though both of the treaties have resolved equally complex territorial disputes, their importance as a role model for the SCS is limited due to the unique political condition in the Asia-Pacific. However, the solutions within the sphere of environmental protection and the structure of decision-making institutions developed by the abovementioned treaties present a valuable lesson and a potential example for the countries involved in the South China Sea dispute to emulate. The article argues that cooperation within environmental protection and fisheries management, as a low-profile endeavour, is easier to be put into practice than the joint development of highly contested hydrocarbon resources of the SCS. Furthermore, it can potentially lay foundation for the future high profile collaboration. The paper also presents a model of a maritime regime for the South China Sea.
... In the SCS, better fisheries management is required; a 2016 report estimated that fish stocks in the SCS declined to between five and 30% from the 1950s . Although detailed, credible proposals have been researched and advocated for fisheries cooperation among the claimants (Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative SCS Working Group, 2017;Langenheim, 2015;Zhang, 2018a), there has been little take-up by highlevel policymakers. ...
... In some cases, this is due to different expectations and goals on the side of the Philippines. For example, the head of a Philippine commercial fishing association who was part of a delegation that visited China noted that the Chinese were keen to invest in aquaculture in parts of Zambales province (see also Zhang, 2018a). However, the local Zambales stakeholders were more interested in investments in improved capacity and technology for capture fisheries (Focus group discussion, July 2017). ...
Article
In much discussion surrounding the relationship between maritime disputes and fisheries resources, emphasis is given to the role of fisheries resources as a driver of the dispute or how states use fishing to further their interests through territoriality. Yet a narrow focus on maritime disputes obscures the broader ways in which fishing contributes to interstate relationships. This paper uses a political ecology and food regimes approach to demonstrate how seafood flows between the Philippines and China represent power relations. China exports a significant volume of low-value small fish and molluscs from its distant water fishery. The Philippines exports low numbers of high-value reef fish. Current Chinese aquaculture investments are minimal. Poaching forms another component of this seafood regime, which is marked by environmental unsustainability and unequal relations between the Philippines and China. This analysis highlights the value of seeing fishing and fishery resources as constitutive of a broader politicized environment.
... Largely forgotten in literature and public discourse are the implications of maritime disputes on fishing communities and transboundary fisheries (Dupont & Baker, 2014;Song, 2015;Zang, 2018). Zhang (2018) argues that joint development and management of natural resources in areas of overlapping claims could encourage cooperation over contentious issues. When approached from a social and economic viewpoint, the Indian Ocean Rim fisheries are commercially important and provide livelihoods and a source of food to communities (Obura et al., 2017;Techera, 2018). ...
... We recognize that maritime boundary disputes are complicated in nature and can result in inter-state tensions. For example, the South China Sea (SCS), specifically China's bilateral fisheries agreements with Japan, Korean and Vietnam, demonstrates that fish can be an element of cooperation between states and presents an opportunity for collaboration on issues of high political sensitivity (Franckx, 2012;Zhang 2018). However, as shown by the prevalence of illegal fishing in the Yellow Sea, the China-Korea joint agreement has failed to address fisheries related conflicts (Kim, 2012). ...
Article
Socioeconomic security has motivated African states to explore natural resources in areas of overlapping maritime claims. However, Africa's maritime boundaries are characterized by unresolved disputes. Resolution of these disputes is time-consuming, expensive and can undermine the state's ability to exploit natural resources. The Somalia and Kenya maritime dispute under litigation with the International Court of Justice demonstrates the continental commitment to peaceful resolution. Citing cases from across Africa, we discuss outright delimitation or Joint Management Zones (JMZs) as means to address disputes over shared resources, particularly transboundary fisheries, which have received little attention. Reframing the Kenya-Somalia maritime dispute resolution process as cooperation over fisheries management will have spill-over effects into greater diplomatic relations. Fish do not abide by maritime boundaries. As such, we posit that the peaceful resolution of maritime boundary disputes lies in Africa's ability to consider settlements by way of JMZs to motivate sustainable use of natural resources. ARTICLE HISTORY
... As Pauly and Liang point out, "the cause of the massive expansion of the fisheries in the SCS is increased demand due to the increased incomes and populations in the surrounding countries" [2]. What it means is that unless an alternative source of supply is available to meet this rising demand, pressure on marine catch sector in the SCS region will remain high [4]. On the other hand, a massive amount of fish subsidies provided by the regional government to their fishers, most notably by China and to a less extent by the Southeast Asian countries, contribute to overcapacity in the SCS [5]. ...
... China has been the top exporter of aquatic products since 2002. In 2014, China's aquatic products exports totalled nearly USD 21 billion, accounting for 12.5 percent of total global exports, up from just 7 percent in 2007 (Zhang, 2018). This has largely been credited to its massive and growing labour-intensive aquacultural sector (Blomeyer, Goulding, Pauly, Sanz, & Stobberup, 2012;Zhao & Shen, 2016). ...
Article
Full-text available
Using the UN Comtrade database and multiple sources of agricultural investment data, this paper outlines the emerging patterns of food trade and agricultural investment between Southeast Asian countries and China. The paper shows that China has adopted a flexible overseas food strategy. First, China has increased food export and shifted its food trade with Southeast Asia from a dependent relationship towards a complementary relationship at the regional level in recent years. Second, China tends to adapt to the existing conditions of food production and trade in Southeast Asian countries instead of fundamentally altering them. Finally, Chinese overseas agricultural investment is less driven by domestic food demand but more oriented for profit making, and this gives it flexibility in diversifying investment. An adequate understanding of China’s flexible food strategy in bilateral and multilateral relationships holds implications for global food security.
... The literature on transboundary cooperation over fresh water resources underscores the importance of joint fact-finding among nations as an important catalytic tool to move from conflict to cooperation, where information disclosure through data-sharing and monitoring is regarded as a first and key step in conflict management (Xie and Jia, 2017;Mitchell and Zawahri, 2015;Uitto and Duda, 2002). However, scientific collaboration on fishery issues is not implemented in certain areas with high conflict risk, with substantial constraints existing in the volatile South China Sea (Zhang, 2018), although it could be initiated by an existing regional governing body (such as the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC)). ...
... Public concerns were raised on the status of these precious marine living resources [9,10], and calls were made for establishing an international or multilateral regional fisheries management organization (RFMO), or international marine protect areas and marine peace parks, in the region so as to effectively manage the resources in a cooperative manner [7,8,11,12]. However, such living resources are still managed, or unmanaged, by the surrounding fishing nations at their own discretion and are under severe over-exploitation pressures. ...
Article
Degradation of the fishery resources in the SCS has been frequently reported, and calls for international cooperation through establishing an international or multilateral fisheries management organization were frequently made in recent years. However, little progress has been observed in this regard and most resources in the region are not subject to any regional cooperative management, mainly due to the disputes of sovereign rights on the SCS. In order to bypass such disputes and take a practical step forward towards reaching the goal of joint management for the SCS fisheries, a ‘bottom-up approach’ was undertaken through holding a “SCS Fisheries Resources and Management Workshop” in 2017 which is a non-political, depoliticized and non-State driven forum with key SCS fishing actors providing and exchanging substantive information on their individual fisheries for building up mutual understanding and confidence as the first step for further collaboration on the management of SCS fisheries resources. Based on information from the Workshop and substantial joint works afterwards, for the first time, this study have successfully compiled and presented basic information on (1) the fisheries statistics from key fishing actors of the region, (2) the management measures implemented by each fishing actor, and (3) subjective evaluations from managers/scientists of the key fishing actors through a questionnaire study on the causes of the stock depletion and/or the key issues that should be addressed for any potential stock recovery. Several statistical issues have been identified, and a further review of the existing statistical systems of the participating parties was recommended as an important topic for future meetings. Communication and mutual understanding of the management measures designed for and implemented in the region are considered crucial for the future construction of any regional collaborative management scheme. High priority issues that were emphasized by the respondents of the questionnaire study include insufficient control on fishing capacity and fishing efforts as well as weak law enforcement; which may relate to the issues of insufficient enforcement resources, low policy priority and institutional weakness.
... A well-developed literature have discussed the potential areas of cooperation and the establishment of cooperation mechanism in the South China Sea. According to political theory, fundamental facts and cooperation practices in other regions, some scholars believed that the conservation and management of marine living resources is currently the most promising area of cooperation in the South China Sea [6], and on this basis, the specific objectives and approaches for fishery cooperation in the South China Sea are proposed [7,8]. At the same time, cooperation in the fields of energy, security, scientific research and environment also has broad potentials [9][10][11][12][13][14]. ...
Article
This paper explores in depth the cooperative mechanism of the “Community of Shared Future” and its influencing factors. According to the theory of geo-economics, the trading network of the South China Sea Route (SCSR) was constructed on the basis of trade routes and weighted by trade volume. The asymmetric Quantal Response Equilibrium (QRE) model was introduced to establish a complex network game model of trade cooperation in the SCSR in order to investigate the influencing factors on community cooperation. Through simulation tests, the influence of the participants' cognitive beliefs on self-action sensitivity, cognitive beliefs about the reaction sensitivity of other participants, the proportion of initial collaborators, rewards from neighboring countries, and implementation cost of environmental barriers on the cooperation of the SCSR were investigated. We concluded that the subjective cognitive asymmetry among countries will restrict the trade cooperation of SCSR to a certain extent. Policy recommendations to promote the cooperation of the SCSR were provided based on our findings.
... 151 By contrast, a lack of stable cooperation frameworks and a perpetuation of conflict and resource degradation may result in entrenched insecurity, normalisation of conflict, and a diminution in opportunities for successful resolution, unless a formula for joint management of the resources can be found and maintained. 152 In addition, it should be noted that egregious instances of excessive and destructive fishing in the South China Sea involved a broad number of private actors in the area, was extended over time, and was not the exclusive result of national security concerns by State actors in the region. These considerations give further weight to the broken windows perspective, highlighting the importance of visible enforcement strategies able to elicit community engagement in the maintenance of good order at sea. 153 The link between security and fisheries is not limited to developing countries, as illustrated by the recent France/UK 'scallop wars'. ...
... Thereby, further improvement of harvest policies based on reliable stock assessment is required. Last but not least, given the complicated nature of the SCS disputes, "tragedy of the commons" is emerging in the region, and fisheries cooperation in the SCS is ecological, socio-economic, political, and security imperative [61,62]. Since measures taken by Hainan government to manage SSFs may cover the disputed areas which will have difficulties in its implementation, regional fisheries cooperation among countries bordering the SCS should be China's local and central governments' further consideration. ...
Article
Full-text available
China is one of the most important marine fishery countries, yet little is known about its small-scale fisheries (SSFs). This paper uses Hainan Province of China as a case study to examine the present situation, predicaments, and future changes of the country's SSFs during a process of transition from extensive to green development. In doing so, we follow the social-ecological system (SES) framework to present Hainan's SSF-related settings, and study its resource systems, governance systems and actors through reviewing national and local policies, surveying and interviewing SSF stakeholders. Marine fisheries in Hainan is SSF-dominated, experienced dramatic increase in terms of yield and jobs since 1978, and became the main source of most fishermen's livelihood. Fish community structure and fishing targets have shifted from a mix of large-bodied demersals and pelagics to smaller-bodied pelagics with high growth rates and fecundity levels. This degradation puts stress on China's central and local governments to enhance the preservation of marine ecosystems. Effort controls failed to reduce fishing power due to subsidies, a series of measures were introduced in 2015 to correct these problems, including obligatory targets with accountability, subsidy reductions, buyback program, and further reductions of fishing vessels and allowable catch implemented in 2017. Hainan has explored different development directions for SSFs. First, providing policies and funds to reduce small fishing boats and construct larger vessels to support offshore and distant-water fisheries. Second, enhancing fishery value by integrating the development of fishery-related primary, secondary, and tertiary industries. Third, developing existing SSFs in a sustainable manner through standardizing SSF vessel types, delineating operating areas, developing fishing port economy, and building beautiful fishing villages. These practices illustrate that China's centralized government can likely command transformational changes in ecological and socio-economic outcomes according to policy objectives. Also, a broadened perspective that considers the ecological, social, and economic dimensions of SSFs as whole is also crucial. Moreover, the integration of fishery policies with other related socioeconomic policies, and the interdepartmental cooperation is needed to achieve policy consistency across local governments.
... Rapid growth in fishery output is driven by the phenomenal growth of fishery consumption in China. Since 1978, per capita consumption of fishery products in China has increased more than tenfold (Zhang 2018). In the last decade, China was responsible for 21 million tonnes of additional fish consumption out of the global growth in consumption of 31 million tonnes. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
With limited land and water resources, China attaches great importance to the development of fishery sector in safeguarding the country’s food security. This chapter examines how the “blue granary” or the marine-based food security strategy has affected China’s fisheries sectors and its global implications. This chapter finds that food security has been the key driver for two key structural changes that are taking place in China’s fishery sector, including the rapid growth of the aquaculture and outward expansion of the marine fishery sector. As China launches its new round of reform efforts to control domestic fishery sector, the country’s rising demand for fishery products will also increasingly be met through imports. Growing consumption and shifting trade position of China will have far-reaching consequences for global fishery trade and fisheries production.
... Marine capture fisheries make a significant contribution to domestic food security, create employment, and help sustain the coastal economy in China Jin et al. 2015;Teh et al. 2017;Zhang 2018). In 2018, China's marine fisheries employed almost 3.7 million people, of which about one million were professional fishers, and the annual production value of the marine capture fisheries reached RMB Fisheries 222.9 billion (US$ 33.7 billion) (Fisheries Bureau of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs 2019). ...
Article
Full-text available
China (herein referred as China’s mainland, and excluding Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) is the largest contributor to global seafood production. While China’s marine fisheries have been extensively documented, there is a gap in systematically quantifying production of its marine fisheries and the different challenges confronting them at provincial level. We addressed this gap in spatial detail by providing a review that compares and contrasts China’s fisheries exploitation history both at national and provincial levels based on official statistical data. We expanded upon this to explore aspects of bio-socio-economic challenges faced by the country’s 11 fishing provinces. Our analysis suggested that significant increases in domestic marine catches in China has been accompanied by escalating fishing power which has had differential impacts at provincial scale. Catch per unit effort (CPUE) sharply declined at both national and provincial scales, and many traditionally targeted demersal fish stocks showed clear downward trends in terms of catches. The 11 fishing provinces in China can be grouped into four clusters with distinct biological, social and economic attributes. Targeted measures are recommended accordingly when implementing fisheries management measures for each specific fishing province in order to deliver an overall improvement in the sustainability of China’s marine fisheries.
... The absence of an agreement on a clearly defined boundary line creates potential for conflict. A maritime boundary dispute can prevent economic exploitation of offshore oil and gas (Byers and Østhagen, 2019;Schofield, 2014) or renewable resources such as offshore wind energy (Borthwick, 2016; and impede the management of transboundary fish stocks (Zhang, 2018;Dang, 2012). Cooperative approaches are essential in defining national maritime limits in contested regions but also in developing governance solutions to sustainably co-manage marine resources that transcend political boundaries. ...
Thesis
Full-text available
In academic circles, international maritime boundaries have received renewed interest as a consequence of geopolitically charged events. As marine resources become scarcer, transboundary ecosystems that were previously looked upon as peripheral are increasing in importance. Over 200 maritime boundaries are as yet unresolved due largely to conflicting and entrenched legal or political positions or limited political will to break the impasse. Intractable conflicts that occur in these contexts are highly political, long-term, complex, dynamic and extremely resistant to change despite genuine efforts to resolve them. Whilst some borders have a legally common delimited line agreed by adjoining states through an international agreement, they can be fiercely contested by one side despite a formally agreed framework. In other border areas, when ownership of a territory is disputed, the absence of an agreement on ownership and a clearly defined boundary line creates potential for conflict. Examples of both of these scenarios within the marine environment were examined as in-depth case studies in this thesis. This study addressed the complexity associated with resolving conflicts in contested transboundary marine ecosystems and explored whether agreed maritime boundaries are essential, or whether some resource conflicts can be successfully managed through informal arrangements or resource sharing regimes in contested marine ecosystems. A multi-perspective interdisciplinary meta-analytical framework and timeline mapping technique was applied in two diverse case studies from the Global North and Global South: Lough Foyle separating the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and Palk Bay separating India and Sri Lanka. Primary and secondary data collection included extensive fieldwork in both study sites, desktop research, media content analyses, participatory GIS conflict hot-spot mapping and 67 semi-structured interviews with key informants representing government, industry, the research community and civil society. Trajectory of Change Timelines were developed for both case studies as a tool for the systematic analysis of the protracted conflicts through the identification of parallel historical and geopolitical transformations that have influenced the status quo. Based on the case study findings, a number of prominent contextual factors and uncertainties that drive resource conflicts in contested regions were identified; (i) the footprint of the past: the legacy of colonialism and arbitrarily drawn boundaries; (ii) coastal border regions: the paradox of spatial proximity to neighbouring States and peripherality from the seats of political power; (iii) strategy or apathy: the consequences of political inaction; (iv) the limitations of LOSC and existing theories of environmental governance; (v) the challenges of moving away from traditional approaches based on political boundaries towards integrated ecosystem-based governance. Transboundary environmental governance in these settings is inherently a political process, ultimately determined by the broader historical and geopolitical context, and often subject to apathy or strategy by neighbouring coastal states. Resource conflicts arising from contested marine ecosystems pose insights into a level of complexity and uncertainty in real-world scenarios that fail to align with conventional principles or theoretical best practice frameworks. Political leadership is critical in addressing transboundary issues through cooperative approaches with neighbouring jurisdictions. Conceptual or theoretical best practice frameworks for environmental governance are immaterial if political leaders are not willing to come to the table and agree on pathways to break the impasse. The following evidence-based insights for future governance options of contested marine ecosystems were formulated within the context of current geopolitical realities: breaking the political deadlock by re- framing the issue; ‘agreeing to agree’ by reaching a bilateral agreement supported and implemented by both Governments on a mutually acceptable boundary line; or ‘agreeing to disagree’ on boundary delimitation but cooperating through a joint development scheme.
... One major threat to sustainable wild-caught stocks is illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities. Emerging multilateral agreements by policy agencies including the Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission, the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center, the European Union, and the United States Seafood Import Monitoring Program are setting the framework for action on IUU fishing [4][5][6][7], namely the aim to develop personnel expertise and tools in accurate and cost-effective monitoring, control, and surveillance (MCS) of fisheries. ...
Article
Full-text available
The decline in wild-caught fisheries paired with increasing global seafood demand is pushing the need for seafood sustainability to the forefront of national and regional priorities. Validation of species identity is a crucial early step, yet conventional monitoring and surveillance tools are limited in their effectiveness because they are extremely time-consuming and require expertise in fish identification. DNA barcoding methods are a versatile tool for the genetic monitoring of wildlife products; however, they are also limited by requiring individual tissue samples from target specimens which may not always be possible given the speed and scale of seafood operations. To circumvent the need to individually sample organisms, we pilot an approach that uses forensic environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding to profile fish species composition from the meltwater in fish holds on industrial and artisanal fishing vessels in Ecuador. Fish identified genetically as present were compared to target species reported by each vessel’s crew. Additionally, we contrasted the geographic range of identified species against the satellite-based fishing route data of industrial vessels to determine if identified species could be reasonably expected in the catch.
... The current fisheries management approaches such as command control and co-management approaches have proven inadequate to deal with these issues and meet almost any reasonable objectives, including preventing stock depletion, resolving conflict, and preventing social disruption (Rusell and Dobson, 2011;Zhang, 2018;Makwinja et al., 2021). The existing institutional framework within the fisheries sector cannot cope with these rapidly growing pressures (Kachilonda, 2014;FISH, 2015). ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents a case study from Lake Malombe, Malawi. It demonstrates Lake Malombe fish stock fluctuation and its implications on fishing community livelihoods. The main challenges that fishing communities are confronted with and their adaptation strategies developed over the years. This study's findings suggest that Lake Malombe riparian communities are not regarded as vulnerable so long as they have access to fishing. Fishing supports their livelihood, but declining catches and other factors (siltation of the lake, climate change (heavy rain, drought, and heavy wind), increased mud in the Lake (IML), and lake level fluctuation) beyond their control also expose them to risks and vulnerability. The strategies on how they have survived over the years from the shocks and stress triggered by the decline in fish stocks from the lake are not sustainable in the face of increased human pressures and other environmental drivers. Therefore, an effort towards the governance of the complex socio-ecological systems in which fishery is embedded is required to understand the conditions that define fishers' adaptation strategies. The study further recommends that a combination of coping strategies should be developed to define the fishing communities' level of adaptive capacity and create flexible socioeconomic conditions within fishing communities to generate a robust system that can deal with stress.
... The SCS economy, natural resources, and underwater biodiversity value are the major reasons why SCS has emerged as one of China's main interests in its International Relations arena. It is testified by the US Energy Information Administration or EIA in (Dossani et al., 2016) In another discovery by (Zhang, 2018) and (Kaharuddin) 2020, the SCS served as a critical chokepoint for international shipping lanes transporting trading goods across the world amount to USD5.3 trillion annually. More than 11 maritime routes of SCS used for international shipping lanes transporting goods worth USD5.3 trillion per year. ...
Article
ABSTRACT The Western International Relations (WIRs) studies have been lauded for centuries owing to idealism innovation with all sorts of ‘ism' (realism, liberalism, structuralism, internationalism, modernism, imperialism, and so on) by various schools of thought with massive volumes of political studies aimed at re-creating the global order. Regretfully, these WIRs have severely disregarded the International Relations (IRs) legacy of Al-Andalus with 800 years of political establishment in Spain. Al-Andalus was the reason for the American continent discovery by Columbus right after it falls. Besides, had has inspired European Renaissance and imperialism dreams, revived political ideologies among the mixed heritage known as Graeco-Romanesque, Judeo-Arab (Shamsie, 2016) but today nothing except purely theological locus. This study attempt to discussed the IRs from industry weltanschauung based on the powerless nation case study. The analytical areal divide into sixth sub-topics: The critique of IRs philosophy, Malaysia-China Business and Bilateral Relations, Malaysia-US Trade and Bilateral Relations, The South China Sea Economy and Biodiversity Worth, ASEAN as a Peacekeeper Guardian for SEA and SCS. The last section is about Malaysia's Holistic Bilateral and Multilateral IRs Approach. This study expects to provide new insight into IRs formulation for the benefit: political policymakers, strengthening WIRs and IRs academic world thus equally beneficial to postgraduate students. Analytical review base on 105 selected articles written by field experts, security journalists, army people, international relation scholars (both from the Muslim and Western world), secret service representatives, newspaper testimony, and international organizations. Keywords: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Bilateral and Multilateral Relations, South East Asia, Middle-East, South China Sea, ASEAN, Palestine, Uyghur, New World Order
... These are particularly concerning over the SCS and MC due to the presence of many low-lying islands. The livelihood of highly populated, low-income countries of this region is dependent on the ocean (e.g., Ferrol-Schulte et al., 2015;Gamage, 2016;Zhang, 2018). However, the future changes in local and regional characteristics of the SCS, including mass and heat transport, and upper ocean behavior (such as heat content, salinity, and mixed layer depth [MLD]) are poorly understood. ...
Article
Full-text available
Ocean transports through the Southeast Asian Seas connect the western tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans, thereby exerting an important role in regional and global climate. High-resolution regional ocean model simulations over the South China Sea (SCS) and maritime continent are used to study the mean and seasonally varying thermohaline structure and volume transport through the straits surrounding the SCS. Diversity in the vertical structure of these straits is not only indicative of the role of widely-varying bathymetry but also strong seasonality associated with monsoonal currents. The presence of a Pacific water mass in intermediate and deep layers of the Luzon Strait points to a key pathway between the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Further, examining a suite of global, high-resolution model simulations reveals the projected changes in the regional upper ocean transports due to anthropogenic radiative forcing by the end of the 21st century. The global models predict an increase in heat and volume transport through the Luzon and Karimata Straits, and a decrease thereof through the Makassar and Lombok Straits by the end of the century. Overall, these changes impute additional net convergence of heat and volume in the SCS, a significant reduction of sea surface salinity and mixed layer depth, and an increase in the upper-ocean heat content of the region. As the SCS serves as a regional heat capacitor and is impacted by the global thermohaline circulation locally via Indonesian Throughflow, these predicted changes have the potential to impact climate over the Indo-Pacific region and globally.
... 4. The success of the 'peace broker' function of fisheries is, however, nothing but guaranteed. A multi-decade effort by the research community to introduce collaborative fisheries management and a marine park in the South China Sea has failed to gain much political traction, for example (see McManus 1994McManus , 2017Zhang 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
Fishing in coastal waters can significantly intersect with state efforts to secure maritime borders. Recent cases of illegal fishing, maritime militia operation and piracy, especially in regions such as the South China Sea, have exposed the unpredictable and elusive nature of the ways in which fisheries and the mobility of fishing boats can complicate border security agenda. The current discussions of these topics are, however, largely episodic, scattered, and state-centric, risking poorly-informed policy/naval responses based on a partial understanding of security dynamics involving fishers and fishing boats. This paper identifies the multiple, and at times simultaneous, makeup of fishing entanglement with maritime border security by synthesising and organising its diverse forms into a typology. Supported by the practice theory and the civilian focus in critical border studies scholarship, this review examines eight types under three broad categories, namely: (1) fishing to pose security threat – ‘resource scarcity’, ‘redrawn boundaries’, ‘Trojan horse’; (2) fishing to aid security objectives – ‘civilian scout’, ‘peace broker’; and (3) security of fishers under threat – ‘direct preying’, ‘coping response’, ‘alert system’. The results provide further substance to the understanding that civilian movement has functions and meanings that can significantly shape the security trajectories of borders. It is suggested that a widened purview of fishing involvement is engaged in security analyses to enhance the comprehension and handling of this widespread but under-studied maritime border phenomenon.
... Various forms of IUU fishing activities transpire in this semi-enclosed sea. Foreign fishing encroachment is arguably the most widely reported case of IUU fishing in the EEZ waters of Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia (Zahari & Zulkifli, 2021;Fauzan, Abdullah & Ahmad, 2019;Zhang, 2018). Other common types of IUU fishing include destructive fishing practices, including bottom trawling, fish bombing, and cyanide fishing (Paterson & Yingyuad, 2017). ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The present fisheries management regime for shared fish stocks in the South China Sea is arguably fragmented, inadequate and ineffective as States bordering this semi-enclosed sea are still working in silos. Nevertheless, considering that all captured fish eventually need to be landed at port, the implementation of port State measures is seen as the most viable option to manage the said stocks sustainably. This paper aims to examine the prospect of establishing legally-binding regional cooperation to support the enforcement of port state measures for managing shared fish stocks in the South China Sea. It begins by providing the biological and migratory profiles of shared fish stocks in this regional maritime water. It then proceeds by examining the state of affairs of the current fisheries cooperation arrangement in implementing port State measures. Port State principles and measures prescribed in various international fisheries instruments, resolutions and conservation measures of regional fisheries management organization will be assessed. This approach is to generate a set of criteria of port States control regime for regional littoral States in South China Sea to refer to and employ when managing shared fish stocks. The discussions in this paper are also drawn on the lesson learnt from the port State control practices by individual States and regional fisheries organizations. This paper argues that the absence of legally binding regional agreement for implementing port state measures has been an obstacle in attaining the goal of sustainable conservation of shared fish stocks across their migratory range in the disputed waters.
Article
This study attempts to compare previous maritime issues between China and neighboring countries, including the ongoing cooperation between Beijing and ASEAN countries in Southeast Asia. This paper suggests that the promotion of the Maritime Silk Road Initiative (MSRI) can mitigate relevant maritime militarized interstate disputes in the region. Creating coordinated foreign policy and sharing information could help prevent conflict, as scholarly research has demonstrated. The empirical findings of this study also help identify the crucial elements that determine how China can improve its maritime policies under the MSRI, with a special focus on the case of the Philippines, which has experienced the most continuous friction over maritime boundaries with China.
Article
Viewed through the standard prisms of international politics, escalation of security tensions is the definitive feature in the evolution of relations between China and Southeast Asia over the last decade. Disagreements over territorial ownership of and rights to the South China Sea sharpened and arguably became the defining feature of regional geopolitics. Yet, China and Southeast Asia have also managed to prove predictions of fateful conflict to be premature. In this article, we study Chinese and Southeast Asian strands of security discourse, which provide political and diplomatic cover for cooperative interaction in parallel with little or no compromise on security principles. Then we select interactions between China and the Philippines and China and Vietnam as cases to illustrate our observations. We conclude by postulating that, at least in the maritime space, tension management rather than conflict resolution is more likely to be the continuing feature into the future.
Article
Full-text available
Ecosystem approach for Fisheries Management (EAFM) has been initiated by the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) since 2010. In 2014, there is a recommendation for fisheries management based on EAFM in the Fisheries Management Areas (FMAs) number 711. The relationship between recommendations and fisheries management programs in the regions is the focus of this study. This study aims to examine the relationship between fisheries management programs in Batam City and fisheries management recommendations in FMAs number 711. The research was conducted through a qualitative approach. Data collection was carried out through in-depth interviews with key informants from the Riau Islands Province Marine and Fisheries Department, Batam City and Tanjung Pinang Fisheries Department, MMAF representatif from fish quarantine quality control and safety of fishery products agency (BKIPM) and directorate general of supervision of marine and fishery resources (PSDKP). The data analysis was conducted in a descriptive qualitative. The study show that the fishing domain has a strong relationship between government programs and recommendations for improving capture fisheries management. Meanwhile, the domain of fish resources, habitat and ecosystem domain, social domain, economic domains and institutional domain show a weak relationship. Recommendations for improved management based on the ecosystem approach that have been formulated have not become the basis for developing fisheries management programs by regional management agencie.
Chapter
The South China Sea faces numerous and increasingly complex environmental and marine resource problems caused by human activities and behavior such as destructive and illegal fishing practices in overlapping waters. The overexploitation of marine resources has resulted in the loss of marine biodiversity, the degradation of coastal and marine ecosystems, and serious damage has been done to offshore coral reef systems. Blue solutions are required based on regional cooperation on marine biodiversity conservation and fisheries management between the ASEAN claimants and China. Blue solutions can protect the environment and the health of the ecosystems. They are also peaceful solutions to ensure trust between the parties in managing complex sovereignty disputes. Sovereignty, marine resources and environmental protection in the South China Sea are intertwined and blue solutions can contribute to a reduction of tension between the parties to the dispute. This is the only feasible way to gain trust and to reverse the current deteriorating trend in the marine environment and ecosystems of the South China Sea.
Article
The catches taken from the South China Sea (SCS) by the bordering countries and others are presented for the period from 1950 to 2014, with emphasis on catches that were ‘reconstructed’, i.e., corrected for completeness. Following a rapid increase in the 1980s and early 1990s, catches from the SCS reached about 10 million tonnes per year, then stagnated despite increasing fishing effort. Some details are provided by (i) functional groups containing hundreds of species, (ii) fishing gears, of which trawls and purse seines are dominant, (iii) fishing sectors, with artisanal fisheries currently taking ¼ and industrial fisheries nearly ¾ of the catches, and (iv) by ex-vessel value, i.e., about 16 billion USD per year. It is also shown that the 10 million tonnes level was achieved by ‘fishing down,’ i.e., catching smaller fish lower in the food web, and through a demand- and subsidy-driven offshore expansion that ended engulfing the entire SCS. Finally, we introduce global warming and its effects on the SCS, and the need to mitigate its impacts, along with the other impacts (acidification, plastics) that will add to the pressures on the SCS ecosystem. Cooperation between the countries bordering the SCS, even if fraught with difficulties, is seen as the only avenue to mitigating these impacts.
Article
Both as a result of economic pressures to expand fishing grounds beyond coastal waters, and the use of maritime law enforcement agencies and fishermen as state proxies for reinforcing sovereign claims, maritime law enforcement and fishing vessels of different South China Sea actors encounter each other regularly in areas of overlapping claims. These encounters have often resulted in incidents at sea and pose a pressing security problem for the region. UNCLOS obliges states to make efforts to reach “provisional arrangements of a practical nature” when a final delimitation is pending. This article examines four examples of fisheries agreements and fisheries enforcement agreements between China and Japan, Japan and Taiwan, the Philippines and Taiwan, and Malaysia and Indonesia in which disputing parties reached provisional arrangements around the enforcement of fisheries in areas of overlapping claims. The articles discusses several elements across the four agreements that are relevant and practical for the South China Sea context, including the adoption of provisions that grant states a degree of flag state control, the establishment of an institutional body for determining management mechanisms and regular consultations, the establishment of communications channels at the operational level, and flexibility around implementation area. The article proposes the establishment of a jointly-managed Provisional Measures Zone within the “donut hole” of the South China Sea that would serve as a starting point for institutionalized cooperation on maritime law enforcement and fisheries issues, accompanied by a set of provisional bilateral and trilateral fisheries enforcement arrangements for individual disputes.
Article
Taiping Island (also known as Itu Aba Island) is located in the middle of one of the most politically controversial land strips in the South China Sea, thereby imposing a great obstacle for the exploration of marine biodiversity in this area. The goals of this study were to improve our knowledge gap of biodiversity of benthic marine algae (including both seaweeds and cyanobacteria) and to provide basic herbarium and molecular references on their communities. With 199 molecular sequences assisted for species identification, we found 19 orders, 40 families, 68 genera and 121 species in Taiping Island, including those belonging to 34 Chlorophyta species, 9 Ochrophyta species, 62 Rhodophyta species, and 16 cyanobacteria species. Among them, six genera, 14 species were new records for the South China Sea and more than 70% species were considered as new records for Taiping Island. There were also many taxa which may be considered as undescribed species new to science. In this fringing reef island, the species compositions were significantly different between two types of habitats separated by a reef crest. In the Reef Flat Zone, the most common species encountered included members of Caulerpa, Dictyota, Galaxaura and Halimeda. In the Reef Slope Zone, the most common species included members of Corallinales and Peyssonneliales. The nuisance coral-competing seaweeds (Galaxaura divaricata and Ramicrusta texitilis) and the cyanobacterium (Moorea bouillonii) were reported for the first time in Taiping Island. Our expanded DNA barcoding data in Taiping Island provides a greater understanding of the benthic marine algal biodiversity in the South China Sea.
Article
Full-text available
Synopsis Poaching of endangered marine species could be a key factor which drives the Chinese fishermen to the frontline of the regional maritime disputes. Commentary OVER THE past few years, this region has witnessed rising numbers of fishing incidents involving Chinese fishermen, particularly in the disputed South China Sea, and the East China Sea. Mainstream media and academic writings tend to attribute this to China's attempts to militarise its fishermen in the disputed waters. While both China and Vietnam have attempted to strengthen their maritime militia force in the past few years amid rising tensions in the South China Sea, the securitised fishery discourse is too state-centric and fails to answer a key question-what are the fishermen collecting in the disputed waters? The answer is not always fish; instead, it is the high valued and endangered marine species such as red coral, giant clams and sea turtles, which attracts many Chinese fishermen to the disputed and foreign waters. Parallel to the rising demand for fishery productions for food, the increasingly affluent Chinese are also consuming more rare aquatic products for personal accessories, decoration and collection purposes. Such are the cases for red coral giant clams. In addition to the beautiful appearances, there are religious reasons as well. In Buddhism, there are seven treasures or seven kinds of gems. Commonly in China, the seven are gold, silver, lapis lazuli, giant clams, agate, pearl, and coral. This makes giant clams and red coral products particularly popular among the wealthy Chinese. Driven by high demand and speculation, the price of red coral and giant clams skyrocketed in recent years.
Article
Full-text available
Antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) are globally prevalent in mariculture sediment, and their presence is an issue of concern in the context of antibiotic use. Although large amounts of fishmeal have been released into the sediment, the role of fishmeal in ARG dissemination remains unclear. In this study, high-throughput ARG profiles in representative fishmeal products and the impact of fishmeal on the sediment resistome were investigated. A total of 132 unique ARGs and 4 mobile genetic elements (MGEs) were detected in five fishmeal products. ARG abundance and diversity in the mariculture microcosm sediment were significantly increased by the addition of fishmeal, and trends in ARG patterns correlated with the resident bacterial community in sediment (P < 0.05). After DNase treatment of fishmeal removed 84.3% of total ARGs, the remaining nutrients in fishmeal increased the relative abundance but not the diversity of ARGs in microcosm sediment. Our study has revealed for the first time that fishmeal itself is a major reservoir for ARGs, and the shift in the bacterial community induced by the nutrients in fishmeal is the main driver shaping the resistome in mariculture microcosm sediment. Our findings caution against the previously unperceived risk of ARG propagation in fishmeal-receiving ecosystems.
Article
Full-text available
With fishery incidents emerging as a major threat to peace and stability in the South China Sea, a better understanding of the underlying causes of these incidents becomes important. Mainstream media, and a substantial body of academic literature, attribute these fishing incidents, and the growing presence of Chinese fishermen in the South China Sea, to China's strategic and political motives, claiming that these fishermen are actually fishing militia. Through revisiting the prevailing fishing militia narrative, this article argues that much wider economic and social factors are at work domestically in China, and that the international and regional scenes are more complex than the picture painted by purely viewing developments with China's fishing militia in isolation. This article also makes the case that fishing disputes in the South China Sea have been heavily securitized with profound implications for the ongoing territorial and jurisdictional disputes in those waters.
Article
Full-text available
Marine aquaculture presents an opportunity for increasing seafood production in the face of growing demand for marine protein and limited scope for expanding wild fishery harvests. However, the global capacity for increased aquaculture production from the ocean and the relative productivity potential across countries are unknown. Here, we map the biological production potential for marine aquaculture across the globe using an innovative approach that draws from physiology, allometry and growth theory. Even after applying substantial constraints based on existing ocean uses and limitations, we find vast areas in nearly every coastal country that are suitable for aquaculture. The development potential far exceeds the space required to meet foreseeable seafood demand; indeed, the current total landings of all wild-capture fisheries could be produced using less than 0.015% of the global ocean area. This analysis demonstrates that suitable space is unlikely to limit marine aquaculture development and highlights the role that other factors, such as economics and governance, play in shaping growth trajectories. We suggest that the vast amount of space suitable for marine aquaculture presents an opportunity for countries to develop aquaculture in a way that aligns with their economic, environmental and social objectives.
Article
Full-text available
This paper first examines two most significant structural shifts in China's marine fishery sector in the past decades, namely, expanding outward and going after high market value species. It then explains how domestic policies and development strategies have shaped the trajectory of China's marine fishery sector, and analyzes the obstacles rooted in both domestic socio-political settings and global governance that have impeded policy reform and effective enforcement in China to ensure marine sustainability and international cooperation. Lastly, the paper explores possible options for transnational advocacy actors that are concerned with the global impact of China's growing fisheries.
Article
Full-text available
China’s 13th Five-Year Plan, launched in March 2016, provides a sound policy platform for the protection of marine ecosystems and the restoration of capture fisheries within China’s exclusive economic zone. What distinguishes China among many other countries striving for marine fisheries reform is its size—accounting for almost one-fifth of global catch volume—and the unique cultural context of its economic and resource management. In this paper, we trace the history of Chinese government priorities, policies, and outcomes related to marine fisheries since the 1978 Economic Reform, and examine how the current leadership’s agenda for “ecological civilization” could successfully transform marine resource management in the coming years. We show how China, like many other countries, has experienced a decline in the average trophic level of its capture fisheries during the past few decades, and how its policy design, implementation, and enforcement have influenced the status of its wild fish stocks. To reverse the trend in declining fish stocks, the government is introducing a series of new programs for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, with greater traceability and accountability in marine resource management and area controls on coastal development. As impressive as these new plans are on paper, we conclude that serious institutional reforms will be needed to achieve a true paradigm shift in marine fisheries management in China. In particular, we recommend new institutions for science-based fisheries management, secure fishing access, policy consistency across provinces, educational programs for fisheries managers, and increasing public access to scientific data.
Article
Full-text available
Fisheries management systems around the world are highly diverse in their design, operation, and effectiveness at meeting objectives. A variety of management institutions, strategies, and tactics are used across disparate regions, fishing fleets, and taxonomic groups. At a global level, it is unclear which particular management attributes have greatest influence on the status of fished populations, and also unclear which external factors affect the overall success of fisheries management systems. We used expert surveys to characterize the management systems by species of 28 major fishing nations and examined influences of economic, geographic, and fishery-related factors. A Fisheries Management Index, which integrated research, management, enforcement, and socioeconomic attributes, showed wide variation among countries and was strongly affected by per capita gross domestic product (positively) and capacity-enhancing subsidies (negatively). Among 13 management attributes considered, three were particularly influential in whether stock size and fishing mortality are currently in or trending toward desirable states: extensiveness of stock assessments, strength of fishing pressure limits, and comprehensiveness of enforcement programs. These results support arguments that the key to successful fisheries management is the implementation and enforcement of science-based catch or effort limits, and that monetary investment into fisheries can help achieve management objectives if used to limit fishing pressure rather than enhance fishing capacity. Countries with currently less-effective management systems have the greatest potential for improving long-term stock status outcomes and should be the focus of efforts to improve fisheries management globally.
Article
Full-text available
Christopher Golden and colleagues calculate that declining numbers of marine fish will spell more malnutrition in many developing nations.
Article
Full-text available
Fisheries and aquaculture production, imports, exports and equitability of distribution determine the supply of aquatic food to people. Aquatic food security is achieved when a food supply is sufficient, safe, sustainable, shockproof and sound: sufficient, to meet needs and preferences of people; safe, to provide nutritional benefit while posing minimal health risks; sustainable, to provide food now and for future generations; shock-proof, to provide resilience to shocks in production systems and supply chains; and sound, to meet legal and ethical standards for welfare of animals, people and environment. Here, we present an integrated assessment of these elements of the aquatic food system in the United Kingdom, a system linked to dynamic global networks of producers, processors and markets. Our assessment addresses sufficiency of supply from aquaculture, fisheries and trade; safety of supply given biological, chemical and radiation hazards; social, economic and environmental sustainability of production systems and supply chains; system resilience to social, economic and environmental shocks; welfare of fish, people and environment; and the authenticity of food. Conventionally, these aspects of the food system are not assessed collectively, so information supporting our assessment is widely dispersed. Our assessment reveals trade-offs and challenges in the food system that are easily overlooked in sectoral analyses of fisheries, aquaculture, health, medicine, human and fish welfare, safety and environment. We highlight potential benefits of an integrated, systematic and ongoing process to assess security of the aquatic food system and to predict impacts of social, economic and environmental change on food supply and demand.
Article
Full-text available
China has a strong interest in pursuing a smart power strategy towards Southeast Asia and has worked laboriously to engage with regional countries economically, socially, and politically. But China has been only partially successful in achieving its goals in the region. This paper argues that China’s security policy towards Southeast Asia significantly contradicts many other objectives that Beijing wishes to accomplish. Given the deep-seated, narrowly-defined national interests of the Chinese military in the South China Sea disputes, it is likely that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will continue to pose the main obstacle to the effective implementation of a Chinese smart strategy in Southeast Asia.
Article
Full-text available
Illegal cross-border fishing is an important maritime security issue in Southeast Asia. Southeast Asian states, along with other states with interests in the region, have created three new multilateral fisheriesrelevant arrangements of agencies with overlapping but different memberships: the Regional Program of Action on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing; the ASEAN–Southeast Asia Fisheries Development Center Strategic Partnership; and the Coral Triangle Initiative. Each of these multilateral arrangements has the potential to help Southeast Asian states deal with fisheries-based security issues more effectively by building polycentric coalitions and capacity. So far, however, they have had a limited impact. This is partly because they are still principally technical support bodies rather than management organizations. In addition, states need to make greater strides towards settling outstanding border disputes and address fisheries overcapacity and overfishing in waters under their jurisdiction. States are unable to address these problems adequately because the fishery sector is typically low in national priority. Moreover, national interest in fisheries remains concentrated on immediate food and economic needs, and, in international relations, on jurisdictional rights.
Article
Full-text available
Global production of farmed fish and shellfish has more than doubled in the past 15 years. Many people believe that such growth relieves pressure on ocean fisheries, but the opposite is true for some types of aquaculture. Farming carnivorous species requires large inputs of wild fish for feed. Some aquaculture systems also reduce wild fish supplies through habitat modification, wild seedstock collection and other ecological impacts. On balance, global aquaculture production still adds to world fish supplies; however, if the growing aquaculture industry is to sustain its contribution to world fish supplies, it must reduce wild fish inputs in feed and adopt more ecologically sound management practices.
Article
Full-text available
The Spratly Islands constitute one of the earth's most ecologically significant areas, hosting a high diversity of marine species, providing critical habitats for endangered species, and providing marine larvae to reestablish depleted stocks among the heavily overfished and degraded coastal ecosystems of the South China Sea. Territorial disputes have led to the establishment of environmentally destructive, socially and economically costly military outposts on many of the islands. Given the rapid proliferation of international peace parks around the world, it is time to take positive steps toward the establishment of a Spratly Islands Marine Peace Park. Its purpose would be to manage the area's natural resources and alleviate regional tensions via a freeze on claims and claim supportive actions.
Article
Full-text available
According to many of its proponents, the proposition that democracies do not fight each other is ‘as close as anything we have to an empirical law’. However, there have been several incidents among solidified liberal democracies where force was threatened or even used. Since these inter-democratic militarised interstate disputes (MIDs) almost always took place in the context of fisheries disputes, we examine two of these conflicts in detail: the cod wars between Iceland and Britain between the 1950s and the 1970s and the turbot war between Canada and Spain. We ask why these fisheries conflicts became militarised in the first place but did not escalate further. In both cases it was actually the presumed impossibility of a more violent escalation which led the parties to use force in the first place. Moreover, the (limited) use of force was almost always accompanied by the efforts of the parties involved to achieve some formalisation of international rules in the context of expanding regimes. Having demonstrated how some of the more prominent causal mechanisms stipulated by democratic peace theorists fail to convincingly account of these cases, we refrain from concluding that any of this falsifies the democratic peace proposition. However, in conclusion we do call into question the premises of the falsificationist methodology underlying much of the democratic peace debate on both theoretical and metholdological grounds. Reframing the democratic peace proposition in terms of a large-scale process of descuritisation, we contend, allows us to understand better how democratic interstate interaction remains inherently conflictive and possibly still subject to process of resecuritisation.
Article
Full-text available
The large yellow croaker (Larimichthys crocea), endemic to East Asia was once one of the three top commercial marine fishes of China PR. Heavily exploited since the 1950s, wild stocks were so severely depleted by the 1980s that most individuals subsequently sold originated from hatcheries. After peaking at about 200 000 tonnes in the mid-1970s, catches of the croaker in China PR declined by over 90% within just 2 decades; according to most decline criteria this would categorize the croaker as “threatened” and management measures, including restocking, were developed. The extensive government-sponsored mariculture program introduced to address food supply and overfishing in the 1980s, particularly of the croaker, was one of the earliest for marine finfish, not only in China PR, a nation with a rich and highly successful history in aquaculture, but globally. In this first, in-depth, profile of a key fishery and early mariculture development, we integrate ecological and biological information with the fishing, management, mariculture and economic history to trace the collapse of wild stocks and assess why management and mariculture did not result in wild stock recovery. Evidence strongly suggests that a combination of heavy exploitation of spawning and over-wintering aggregations, poor management and overfishing pressure were major factors in stock declines, with contributions from pollution, habitat degradation and marine ecosystem shift. Although the croaker proved a highly successful mariculture candidate, with approximately 70 000 tonnes produced in 2005, the highest of any marine fish cultured in China PR, mariculture and restocking have failed to restore croaker stocks and may have, inadvertently, led to biodiversity losses. The detailed history of the croaker is a sobering reminder that successful mariculture, albeit important for food production and livelihoods, is not necessarily a solution to overfishing, and moreover, may have compromised fishery recovery by competing for funds, attention, space, and maybe genetic resources.
Article
Full-text available
China has a long history of aquaculture. Since the 1980s, mariculture has been considered by the government as an increasingly important sub-sector of aquaculture. Mariculture provides nutritional and economic benefits, and decreases the intensity of exploitation on declining wild living resources. China now has the highest mariculture production in the world. Kelp made up 50–60% the total Chinese mariculture production in 1967–1980. Production of Laminaria japonicaAresch, the leading species, reached 252, 907 t (dry wet) in 1980. The percentage of kelp production decreased after 1981 because of proportionally greater production of molluscs, shrimps and finfish. Marine finfish and mollusc production increased sharply after 1990. In 2001, the total mariculture production reached 11,315,000 t from a production area of 1,286,000 ha. The rapid development and changes in mariculture species have aroused increasing concern about maricultures impact on the coastal environment. The impact of coastal aquaculture, such as water quality deterioration and contaminants, will have a significant bearing on the expansion of mariculture. The key of improving and maintaining the long-term health of mariculture zones lies in adopting sustainable culture systems. It is imperative that the density of stocking fish and other economically important organisms such as oysters, and scallops, be controlled, in addition to restricting the total number of net-cages in the mariculture zones. The authors suggest moving rafts (cages) periodically and to development of a fallow system in which area fish culture will be suspended for 1–2 years to facilitate recovery of the polluted sediment. Moving fish culture offshore into deeper waters is also suggested. The authors also believe that large-scale seaweed cultivation will reduce eutrophication in coastal culture zones in China.
Article
Full-text available
World population is expected to grow from the present 6.8 billion people to about 9 billion by 2050. The growing need for nutritious and healthy food will increase the demand for fisheries products from marine sources, whose productivity is already highly stressed by excessive fishing pressure, growing organic pollution, toxic contamination, coastal degradation and climate change. Looking towards 2050, the question is how fisheries governance, and the national and international policy and legal frameworks within which it is nested, will ensure a sustainable harvest, maintain biodiversity and ecosystem functions, and adapt to climate change. This paper looks at global fisheries production, the state of resources, contribution to food security and governance. It describes the main changes affecting the sector, including geographical expansion, fishing capacity-building, natural variability, environmental degradation and climate change. It identifies drivers and future challenges, while suggesting how new science, policies and interventions could best address those challenges.
Article
Full-text available
Aquaculture's pressure on forage fisheries remains hotly contested. This article reviews trends in fishmeal and fish oil use in industrial aquafeeds, showing reduced inclusion rates but greater total use associated with increased aquaculture production and demand for fish high in long-chain omega-3 oils. The ratio of wild fisheries inputs to farmed fish output has fallen to 0.63 for the aquaculture sector as a whole but remains as high as 5.0 for Atlantic salmon. Various plant- and animal-based alternatives are now used or available for industrial aquafeeds, depending on relative prices and consumer acceptance, and the outlook for single-cell organisms to replace fish oil is promising. With appropriate economic and regulatory incentives, the transition toward alternative feedstuffs could accelerate, paving the way for a consensus that aquaculture is aiding the ocean, not depleting it.
Article
Marine fisheries target and catch fish both for direct human consumption (DHC) as well as for fishmeal and fish oil, and other products. We derived the fractions used for each for 1950–2010 by fishing country, and thus provide a factual foundation for discussions of the optimal use of fisheries resources. From 1950 to 2010, 27% (~20 million tonnes annually) of globally reconstructed marine fisheries landings were destined for uses other than DHC. Importantly, 90% of fish destined for uses other than DHC are food-grade or prime food-grade fish, while fish without a ready market for DHC make up a much smaller proportion. These findings have implications for how we are using fish to feed ourselves or, more appropriately, how we are not using fish to feed ourselves.
Article
The incorporation of Taiwan into the legal framework of regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs) has proven to be challenging. This article reviews RFMO practice in this area in light of the recent experience of the Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement (SIOFA) and outlines some of the legal creativity that has provided solutions. Taiwan's participation in RFMOs is essential to the achievement of effective management outcomes. Accordingly, this article argues that today, with relevant international legal obligations and numerous suitable precedents, political considerations should not represent an obstacle to providing for fair and appropriate involvement of Taiwan in RFMOs.
Article
Against the backdrop of Indonesian President Widodo's expressed intention to turn his country in to a maritime nation again, this article examines the way in which the Indonesian state understands and utilises the concept of maritime security. The article achieves this aim by discussing the results of a Training Needs Analysis of key Indonesian state maritime security actors, conducted as part of the first phase of a multi-stakeholder project examining how Indonesia's maritime security capacity can be improved. The article illustrates how key maritime actors within the Indonesian state demonstrate a diverse understanding of what maritime security is, and argues that there is a demonstrable willingness on their part to look beyond a narrow conceptualisation of security in the maritime domain, which is solely focused on military threats and the defence of the state, towards something more comprehensive. Here the Indonesian approach to maritime security mirrors in practice conceptual trends encapsulated in the emergence of maritime security studies. The article concludes that there is the potential for a more comprehensive maritime security agenda to take hold in Indonesia but that this will require continued strategic and policy focus on the maritime domain within the country, alongside an emphasis on partnership building both within the state and between the state and non-state actors. Consistent dialogue around how maritime security is conceptualised would be helpful in supporting these two conditions the article posits, elaborating the value of the human security lens for those interested in a more comprehensive approach to maritime security.
Article
China has dominated global aquaculture production for more than two decades. Aquaculture production in China increased from 24.6 million metric tons (mmt) in 2000 to 47.5 mmt in 2014, an increment of 93.1%. Along with the fast-growing aquaculture industry, aquafeed production in China increased from 5.1 mmt in 2000 to 19.0 mmt in 2014, an increment of 272.5%. However, despite the rapid increase in aquafeed production, the fishmeal usage in aquafeeds in China has remained stable over the years. Fishmeal imports into China remained relatively steady at 1.0–1.5 mmt per annum from 2000 to 2014. An often unacknowledged fact is that China contributes more than 60% to the world aquaculture production at a cost of only 25–30% of the world fishmeal output. This review attempts to explain why the fishmeal usage has not increased proportionately with the increasing aquafeed production in China from several angles: (i) the current status of fishmeal usage in Chinese aquaculture; (ii) the relationship between the decreasing dietary inclusions of fishmeal and improved feed techniques, especially the use of alternative protein sources for fishmeal; (iii) the dominance of Chinese aquaculture by low trophic level species of plants, filter feeders, herbivores and omnivores and consequent low demands for fishmeal; and (iv) the increasing price of fishmeal and the management of exploitation of wild fisheries in the main fishmeal exporting countries to China. The trends and prospects of fishmeal usage in the future in Chinese aquaculture and the associated consequences are also addressed. Like other countries, China is now actively developing both resource conservation-based capture fisheries and environment-friendly freshwater and marine aquaculture systems. Aquaculture will be the main source of aquatic food in the future and will also indirectly contribute to save the world wild fisheries, and China will be main player that will continue to contribute towards this end.
Article
Court decision escalates tensions in ecologically sensitive region, but may also push nations to cooperate.
Chapter
Historical knowledge has an important role in addressing the problems facing marine capture fisheries today. The growing awareness of the value of historical perspectives underpinned the History of Marine Animal Populations (HMAP) project, a 10-year global research collaboration concerned with the long-term interaction of humans and the marine environment. The chapters presented in this volume developed out of HMAP Asia, one of HMAP’s 12 regional case-studies, and a sub-project designed specifically to address a lack of knowledge about the history of fishing and the historic impact of human activity on marine environments in Asia and Oceania. At a time when overfishing and declining fish stocks remain pressing problems for marine scientists and fisheries managers, the task of establishing baselines that expose the full extent of ecological change is as important as ever; understanding the scale and extent of historic change is a necessary first step towards achieving sustainability in marine capture fisheries. Historical Perspectives of Fisheries Exploitation in the Indo-Pacific represents an important step in what we hope will be ongoing international research on the marine environmental history of Asian and Pacific seas.
Article
China's strategic and political considerations have directly and indirectly contributed to the growing presence of Chinese fishermen in disputed waters in the South China Sea and in the East China Sea. But it is an overstatement to claim that China is launching a “people's war” at sea. Based on extensive interviews with Chinese fishermen, scholars, and government officials and with a comprehensive review of the official documents, news reports, and existing research papers, the author argues that food security and economic factors are the primary drivers for the outward expansion of China's marine fishery sector. The Chinese fishermen are increasingly placed at the center stage of maritime conflicts in the troubled regional waters.
Article
A regional fisheries stakeholder assessment identified key regional issues and trends facing marine capture fisheries in Southeast Asia, as well as identifying relevant considerations and strategies in potentially addressing such regional issues and trends. The analysis provided a better understanding of the interplay between stakeholders;identifying key points of influence as well as strengths and weaknesses within the framework of promoting sustainable fisheries in a multistakeholder context. Several strategies are presented on how to address the priority issues and threats that face marine capture fisheries in the Southeast Asian region.
Article
The present paper intends to have a look at fisheries in the South China Sea in order to find out whether this particular issue is a problem solver or rather a problem creator in this region characterized by tense inter-State relationships at present. In this part of the world's ocean, dominated by maritime features such as the Paracels and the Spratleys, i.e. shallow areas, sometimes drying only at low tide, and sometimes at high tide as well, fish is a plentiful resource relied upon by many fishermen of the surrounding countries as a source of income. If we take Europe as an example, fisheries seem to have the dual capability to either trigger disputes between States, resulting sometimes in outright fish wars, or to provide a means of furthering integration between States, such as has been accomplished by the European Common Fisheries Policy. In the South China Sea a similar duality can be witnessed. At times, fishermen have dramatically influenced the relations between certain States to the point of suddenly straining diplomatic relations totally disproportionately to the event which had triggered a particular incident. But fisheries are also used as a vehicle for trying to further co-operation on both bilateral and regional levels. Indeed, very often fisheries are seen as a more "neutral" area able to stimulate co-operation more easily than, for instance, co-operation in the military field or on sovereignty-related issues. This paper will conclude by determining whether Article 123 of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea adds any legal obligation to the riparian States of a semi-enclosed sea in this respect. © 2012 © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
Article
Since President Truman claimed zones of extended coastal jurisdiction for the United States in September 1945, the delimitation of zones of national jurisdiction between states with opposite or adjacent coasts has become a major legal and political issue in international relations. The development of the concept of the continental shelf during the 1950s and 1960s, as well as the claim to extended fisheries zones or exclusive economic zones by nearly all coastal states under the sway of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea since the mid-1970s, gave rise to delimitation problems all over the world. Similar problems may arise if more states extend their territorial seas to 12 nautical miles, which they may do under the new United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOS Convention) of 1982. By now, a considerable number of delimitation agreements have been concluded on the continental shelf and/or the territorial sea, and even agreements on the delimitation of fisheries zones have been reported.
Article
This article identifies potential areas of cooperation in the South China Sea, particularly on ocean-related matters. Several regional mechanisms related to marine and coastal environments have been established and, to an extent, have achieved their goals. Nevertheless, some improvements to existing mechanisms are highly desirable. Recommended is a regional mechanism that involves all bordering parties; limits its geographic scope to the South China Sea; is initiated and operates without the assistance of global organizations; is embodied in a legally binding instrument; and broadens the scope of cooperation to include marine living resources, maritime safety, and maritime security.
Article
In the past decade, there have been calls for a regional code of conduct for the South China Sea to ensure peace and stability in a region replete with conflicting territorial claims over offshore geographical features. This paper will distinguish between the process of codification of rules and principles in one document, on the one hand, and the process of implementing existing rules and principles, on the other hand. It will be argued that rules and principles governing conduct for human and regional security around the South China Sea already exist in many forms and that the South China Sea states are obligated by international law to implement them without waiting for their consolidation in one document.
Article
This article argues that continued reliance on input/output controls and restrictions in fisheries management may be insufficient to protect global fish stocks. Instead, a transition beyond supply-side measures to those aimed at reducing demand for fish stocks may be necessary. The article offers a proposal for five types of demand-side or market-based measures: elimination of fishing subsidies, bolstering of import restrictions, ceasing trade in endangered and threatened fish stocks, strengthening civil and criminal penalties against illegal fishers, and pursuit of punitive trade sanctions against flag states flouting international fishery guidelines to help prevent and deter global overfishing.
Article
This paper considers the prospects for increased participation for fishing entities in certain regional fisheries management bodies. It considers which method of addressing this is the most feasible: amendment; modifying a treaty; de facto amendment; or the adoption of resolutions. The paper considers the special situation of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), which is within the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) framework, and the steps needed to enable the IOTC to leave the FAO framework in order to facilitate a greater participation in its activities.
Article
Despite ongoing conflict management and confidence-building efforts in the South China Sea (SCS), there is still no clear path to the resolution of the complex multilateral sovereignty and the maritime boundary disputes. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessments for the region forecast significant climate and ecological change to the detriment of the region's coastal inhabitants, ecosystems, and economies. SCS states need to place marine conservation cooperation at the center of all development activity in order to enhance the prospects of adaptation to climate change. This article explores and argues for more effective SCS Large Marine Ecosystem cooperation through transboundary networks of marine protected areas.
Article
Future international relations in East Asia are likely to be largely shaped by the maritime strategies and policies of various actors. This paper examines China's policy and behavior in maritime cooperation in the East Asian region in recent years, a topic that has been insufficiently understood. I suggest that while it is necessary and useful to take into account China's naval power, more attention to Chinese intentions and policy on East Asian maritime issues is warranted to arrive at a more balanced, and arguably more accurate, understanding of China's role in East Asian maritime affairs. This paper takes stock of China's changing perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors in maritime cooperation in the region. I describe China's new policy moves in the South China Sea and East China Sea. I also address some of the major Chinese concerns for further maritime cooperation in East Asia. I conclude that while a grand cooperative maritime regime is still not possible from a Chinese perspective, China is likely to agree to more extensive and substantive maritime cooperation in many functional areas, most notably in the non-traditional security arena.
Article
Part IX of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea deals with one particular kind of “special maritime situations and features”—“enclosed or semi-enclosed seas.” There are only two articles within Part IX. Article 122 provides a descriptive definition of these maritime features. Article 123 stipulates cooperation among States bordering an enclosed or semi-enclosed sea as a treaty obligation while putting forward three substantive “spheres” in which bordering States can coordinate among themselves to perform such a treaty obligation. The South China Sea fits this wording and is in need of a cooperative mechanism in order to reduce the potential tension and conflicts in the region. By examining the practices of cooperation among bordering States in two other semi-enclosed seas, the Mediterranean Sea and the Caribbean Sea respectively, this article draws certain lessons for the bordering States of the South China Sea to consider for their potential application of Article 123.
Article
The Rio Declaration of 1992 called for states to integrate environmental protection in their process of development in order to achieve the ultimate goal of sustainable development (Principle 4). The paper investigates to what extent the People's Republic of China (PRC) has integrated environmental protection into her fisheries policy. The environment/development nexus is analysed in relation to the adoption and implementation of the Fisheries Law of 2000. Official documents and, more importantly, interviews conducted in several organizations at multiple levels of governance disclose a complex reality beyond the formal commitment to sustainable fisheries. Diverging interests, goals and strategies can be traced beyond formal policy documents in Beijing, Guangdong and between the Centre and the Province. Inter-organizational divergences at the central and local levels, as well as between them, hinder the pursuit of environmental protection in the development of China's fisheries sector. The paper highlights the political complexity of pursuing more responsible fisheries in the multi-actor and multi-level political-administrative system of the PRC. Here, as well as in many other developing countries, economic development constitutes the policy priority. Environmental protection often remains not only an ambitious objective but also an unperceived need.
Article
Joint petroleum development has often been considered as a viable solution to the seemingly intractable Spratly islands dispute in the South China Sea (SCS). This is however more easily said than done. On the other hand, little attention is paid to fisheries cooperation in the SCS despite the fact that fisheries constitute an important part in the economies of coastal states. The present laissez-faire approach to fisheries in the disputed area gives rise to friction and tension. By highlighting the salient features of existing fisheries cooperative arrangements in the world, the paper demonstrates the merits of a fisheries arrangement in the SCS. It also argues that fisheries cooperation, as a low-profile undertaking, is probably easier to achieve than joint petroleum development. Fisheries arrangement serves the immediate interests of parties to the Spratly islands dispute and may pave the way for their future high-profile cooperation, i.e. joint petroleum development.
Article
Scholars of international politics have been slow to address the fundamental issues that ground interstate conflict. Territory has frequently been cited as a primary source of contention among states, but it remains only one issue and not even the one most prevalent in the post–World War II time period. We take the first step toward understanding the broader theoretical link between regime type, issues, and militarized conflict by collecting new data on the issues in dispute between democracies from 1946 to 1992. We findthat (1) a large proportion of the militarized disputes between democracies in the post-WWII period involve fisheries, maritime boundaries, and resources of the sea, (2) well-established democracies are able to remove territory as a contentious issue among them, (3) disputes between democracies have become less severe and shorter in duration over time, and (4) a majority of the post-WWII militarized disputes between democracies are not resolved. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of these empirical findings for the democraticpeace literature.
Article
Regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) collectively manage the largest distinct area of the world, the high seas, but their effectiveness in conserving the fish stocks therein has been questioned lately, as many stocks have declined. This study quantitatively assesses the effectiveness of the world's 18 RFMOs, based on a two-tiered approach, concentrating first on their performance ‘on paper’ and secondly, in practice. The former was determined by assessing how well RFMOs scored against 26 criteria that together reflect current RFMO best practices. The latter assessment referenced the current state of the stocks RFMOs manage, through biomass and fishing mortality reference points and biomass trends through time. Results show low performance of RFMOs for both assessments, i.e., average scores of 57% and 49%, respectively. The latter result is emphasized by findings that reflect two-thirds of stocks fished on the high seas and under RFMO management are either depleted or overexploited. Findings also indicate that there is no connection between the two sets of scores, suggesting a disparity between organization intent and action.
Article
As a result of declining and overfished small-scale nearshore fisheries in Southeast Asia, there are increasing conflicts and social tensions between and among different user groups, leading to coastal “fish wars”. A challenge facing fishers, resource managers and national decision makers in the region is to identify more appropriate governance and public policy mechanisms to manage conflicts over fishery resources and to resolve them productively in the interests of both long-term sustainability and short-term economic feasibility. A quantitative analysis undertaken in selected coastal communities in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam with and without co-management indicate that co-management does lead to reduced resource conflict levels. The analysis has also shown that when resource conflicts are reduced, food security improves.
Article
Vietnam's marine fisheries are considered to be small scale and are concentrated in coastal near-shore waters. This has resulted in heavy pressure on near-shore fisheries resources. Near-shore fisheries are considered by fishers and the government to be over-exploited, causing hardship for many coastal communities. This paper reviews and analyzes changes in policy towards small-scale fisheries in Vietnam over the last two decades. The primary issues facing the small-scale fisheries in Vietnam are to restructure the near-shore fisheries and to address over-capacity. Recommended actions include improved fisheries statistics, resources for provincial fisheries staff, and a coordinated and integrated approach involving a mixed strategy of resource management; resource restoration; economic and community development; and new governance arrangements.