Chinese fisheries enforcement: Environmental and strategic implications
In almost all of the maritime territorial disputes in East Asia, fisheries questions play a significant role. One need only consider that fishing has been at the heart of serious wrangling among East Asian states from the Yellow Sea, through the East China Sea, and down to the South China Sea in recent years. Chinese fisheries policy might be critical to the possibilities for peaceful resolution of the many maritime territorial disputes in East Asia. Moreover, China's status as the world's largest fishing power also means that Beijing's inclination to accept and practice global fisheries norms could mark a giant step forward for environmental protection of the oceans in the coming century. Drawing on a wide array of unique Chinese Mandarin-language sources, this study seeks to explore the often noted “implementation gap” in Chinese fisheries enforcement practices. The study reveals that Beijing is making gradual and earnest efforts to comply with international environmental norms with respect to fisheries. That is a positive development for the health of the world's oceans, but some of these same policies may also have the impact of aggravating tense maritime disputes in the region as well. âº Chinese fisheries enforcement practices are making gradual and steady improvement. âº Improvements will include 30 new, large cutters built during 2010–2015. âº Many challenges remain, including institutional complexity and depleted stocks. âº Enhanced Chinese enforcement may aggravate maritime territorial disputes. âº Chinese enforcement will be critical to the future health of the world's oceans.