A comparative study of fishery and environment laws in the south China sea: Utilizing existing laws to promote peace
There is general consensus that claimants to the South China Sea (SCS) should set aside territorial disputes and cooperate to preserve the natural resources of the sea. These resources are vital to millions of fishermen and consumers but are severely overexploited. Failure to prevent further exploitation or replenish stocks will exacerbate tensions in the SCS as countries compete for dwindling resources. Understanding how and where to start cooperating is a topic of much debate, and few ideas have gained enough traction for implementation. This report suggests that agreements can be built from existing commonalities in national laws and policies concerning fisheries and the marine environment. Utilizing these commonalities could help to build confidence by showing that despite disputes, there are in fact similarities and areas of alignment. This would not only build confidence but may serve as a less contentious route toward cooperation, because countries are agreeing - at a regional level - on criteria they already agree on at a national level. This concept is explored by looking at the fisheries and marine environmental laws and policies of China, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.
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