Maritime disputes and seafood regimes: a broader perspective on fishing and the Philippines–China relationship

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Globalizations, 2020, 17 (1), pp. 146 - 160
Issue Date:
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© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. In much discussion surrounding the relationship between maritime disputes and fisheries resources, emphasis is given to the role of fisheries resources as a driver of the dispute or how states use fishing to further their interests through territoriality. Yet a narrow focus on maritime disputes obscures the broader ways in which fishing contributes to interstate relationships. This paper uses a political ecology and food regimes approach to demonstrate how seafood flows between the Philippines and China represent power relations. China exports a significant volume of low-value small fish and molluscs from its distant water fishery. The Philippines exports low numbers of high-value reef fish. Current Chinese aquaculture investments are minimal. Poaching forms another component of this seafood regime, which is marked by environmental unsustainability and unequal relations between the Philippines and China. This analysis highlights the value of seeing fishing and fishery resources as constitutive of a broader politicized environment.
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