Ask New Zealand to Manage South China Sea Fisheries
Around the contested Spratly Islands and under South China Sea shipping lanes are valuable fisheries, collapsed from overfishing. These fisheries could be restored with proven fisheries management successful in New Zealand, Australia, and other fisheries around the world.
A Wall Street Journal blog post reviews: “5 Things About Fishing in the South China Sea“(July 19, 2016):
• Fish stocks in the South China Sea have fallen 70% to 95% from 1950s levels,
• Fish caught in the South China Sea account for about 12% of the global annual catch.
• Chinese fishing fleets significantly outnumber those from other claimant countries in the South China Sea
• An average person in Southeast Asia and China consumes about 24.2 kilograms of fish a year… The average annual consumption of seafood in the U.S. was just 6.5 kilograms in 2012
• The ruling from the U.N. Permanent Court of Arbitration effectively demolished China’s claim to the vast majority of the South China Sea.
Catch shares offer a successful way to restore and manage endangered fisheries. The Environmental Defense Fund’s Fisheries Solutions Center reports:
As of 2013, nearly 200 rights-based management programs exist worldwide, affecting more than 500 different species in 40 countries.
Debaters from marine natural resources and ocean policy topics should be familiar with EDF and the success of catch shares systems in restoring fisheries.
Shiyin assesses fisheries laws and policies and their implementations in Asian countries, particularly in China, and analyzes the possibility of using market-based approaches to achieve sustainability. She helps the Oceans Program launch fishing rights programs in China to reverse the decline of fish stocks and restore marine biodiversity.
For more on catch shares, see, “Catch Shares Around the World” (PERC), reporting on EDF report:
The Environmental Defense Fund has published a map of all catch share programs around the world. According to the infographic (click to enlarge), as of 2010 there were 275 catch share programs in effect worldwide, affecting 850 different species.
New Zealand and Australia lead the world in rights-based fisheries, with 117 and 111 species under catch share management respectively. Canada, Chile, and the United States are also among the top five in species protected. Perhaps surprisingly, rights-based fisheries exist in countries ranging from Namibia (8 species) to Papua New Guinea (13 species). See the accompanying searchable database of catch share systems around the world.
This Izzit.org video, Sustainable Oceans & Seas reviews the history and economic principles behind New Zealand’s recovery from collapsed fisheries 30 years ago. How to implement similar reforms to the contested South China Sea is a challenge.