Year

2004

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Centre for Maritime Policy

Abstract

The global fisheries crisis has been of great concern to the international community, and has led to the adoption of a series of instruments under the fisheries framework of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOSC). These post-LOSC fisheries instruments include the Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas (Compliance Agreement); the Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 Relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (Fish Stocks Agreement); the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (Code of Conduct); and the International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing (IPOAIUU). The aforementioned instruments have improved the LOSC fisheries framework and had considerable impact on the way fisheries resources are utilised and managed. However, they have not stopped the continual depletion of fisheries resources as they rely largely on the implementation by individual states to achieve their management objectives. The ineffectiveness of these instruments is mainly due to the fact that they have not been widely implemented by, or incorporated into, the fisheries law and policy of states. As one of the major fishing nations with the largest population in the world, China has faced many problems managing its fisheries: the severest of which are the depletion of fisheries resources and the deterioration of the marine environment. This situation has necessitated China’s alignment with international fisheries law and policy. The study analyses China’s legislative harmonisation and policy adjustment in response to these international fisheries instruments, in particular resource management, distant water fisheries, and regional fisheries cooperation for the shared fisheries resources in the form of bilateral fisheries agreements with Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam. The study pinpoints the fact that China’s fisheries development, particularly the problems it has encountered, including its excessive fishing capacity, economic incentives, population pressures, and a weak institutional framework, reflect the global situation and provides a basis for understanding the driving forces behind a gradual loss of control of fishing capacity leading to the depletion of resources. China’s national action and regional cooperation mirrors the overall effort of the international community in searching for possible solutions to address the fisheries crisis. The study emphasises that the LOSC will remain as a dynamic instrument and a point of reference for the legal norms at the global, regional and national levels to deal with the countless issues of fisheries management. The post-LOSC instruments will stand as guidelines for states to conserve and manage fisheries resources on the way to achieving sustainable fisheries. States like China will have to fully commit themselves to their obligations and responsibilities to achieve sustainable fisheries management.

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