Fishery Depletion and the South China Sea
Fishery depletion is a driving force in the militarization of the South China Sea. Using Garrett Hardin’s theory “the tragedy of the commons” as an analytical lens, this paper explores the relationship between the lack of legitimate territory designations and the illegal overexploitation of wild fish stocks. It argues that China, as the regional hegemon, has triggered conflicts by pursuing an agenda of maritime territorial expansionism. Some Southeast Asian countries, affected by these resource-driven incursions, defend their exclusive economic zones through military buildup. Therefore, the rising violence and decreasing availability of fish force some non-commercial fishermen to pursue piracy as an alternate form of income. The findings of this paper suggest that increased militarism of the South China Sea has not only predominantly affected the lives of non-commercial fishermen but also negatively impacted the regional environmental health. In the future, without multilateral resource management, this militarization will only worsen.
Copyright (c) 2019 Jaymes MacKinnon
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