Professor Clive Schofield is Director of Research at the Australian Centre for Ocean Resource and Security (ANCORS), University of Wollongong (UOW). He is also the Leader of the University’s Sustaining Oceans and Coastal Communities research theme within the UOW Global Challenges Program. He has also served as Acting Dean of Law at UOW. He is a past Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow and QEII Senior Research Fellow. He holds a PhD (geography) from the University of Durham, UK and an LLM from the University of British Columbia, Canada. Clive’s research interests relate to international boundaries and particularly maritime boundary delimitation and marine jurisdictional issues. He has published over 250 scholarly publications including 22 books and monographs on these issues as well as geo-technical aspects of the law of the sea and maritime security. Clive serves as an International Hydrographic Office (IHO)-nominated Observer on the Advisory Board on the Law of the Sea (ABLOS) and is a member of the International Law Association’s Committee on International Law and Sea Level Rise. He has also been involved in the peaceful settlement of boundary and territory disputes by providing advice to governments engaged in boundary negotiations and in dispute settlement cases before the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Additionally he recently served as an independent expert witness in the international arbitration case between the Philippines and China.
Sustaining South China Sea Fisheries: A Multilateral Imperative Amid Complex Maritime Disputes
The South China Sea, despite its relatively small area, is one of the top five most productive areas for fishing globally, estimated to contribute a staggering 12% of global catch. Consequently, South China Sea fisheries are economically significant to coastal States in terms of regional livelihoods and trade and are also crucial contributors with respect to regional food security. These vital marine living resources, and the marine environments that support them, are, however, in peril. South China Sea fisheries are substantially over-exploited, subject to harmful exploitation practices and cooperative governance mechanisms to sustainably manage regional fisheries are lacking. These issues are exacerbated by the complex sovereignty and maritime claims for which the South China Sea region is (in)famous.
The paper outlines territorial and maritime claims in the South China Sea and highlights the spatial ramifications of the Award of the Arbitration Tribunal in the Case between the Philippines and China. The present status of fisheries and the marine environment in the South China Sea are assessed against this backdrop with a view to pinpointing the key challenges to sustaining these critically important benefits to all South China Sea littoral States. It is suggested that the fisheries are an under-regarded but vital dimension dimensions to the South China Sea disputes. Moreover, the threat of a collapse in these fisheries, bearing with it calamitous potential consequences, represents an imperative for all South China Sea for cooperative management of these pooled and shared marine resources.