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Joint Development

South China Sea: Limits To Commercial Fishing By Claimants – Analysis

South China Sea

China’s deployment of its largest factory ship with its fishing fleet in the South China Sea raises questions about limits to commercial fishing in overlapping areas. Intensive fisheries in such claim areas which result in the extinction of certain fish stocks would be contrary to UNCLOS and may impede the conclusion of fisheries co-operation agreements.

By Youna Lyons and Tara Davenport

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The announcement by China in May 2012 that it was deploying its largest factory ship and a fleet of support vessels to join its fishing fleet in the overfished waters of the South China Sea (SCS) raises the question: are there any limits to commercial fishing in overlapping claim areas in the South China Sea?

Overfishing a growing concern

While South East Asian Seas account for 40% of the world’s total fish catch, wild fish catches reached their maximum a few years ago and are decreasing. The aquaculture…

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