The role of fisheries in human conflict : Examining the Convergence of Food, Environmental, and Human Security

A capstone project submitted to the faculty of the California Maritime Academy in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies and Maritime Affairs.

This work will aim to analyze the role of fisheries in conflict by examining aspects of food, environmental, and human security. Fisheries are a vital resource globally, employing millions and feeding billions. Use of this resource continues to grow along with global population. However, this growth is paired with an increase in dependence on this resource. At the same time, fisheries around the globe have become vulnerable to many human and climate threats in the Anthropocene. These threats cause potential scarcity in this resource which in turn contributes to human conflict by creating food and economic insecurities. Such insecurities lead can lead to nationalistic tensions and compromised maritime boundaries. The conflict arising from these tensions is described as “fishery-driven conflict”. The South China Sea is a hot spot for this fishery driven conflict as China uses militarized fishermen to exert sovereignty claims on the majority of the region while other nations wrestle for territorial control and security of their maritime boundaries, all in an attempt to secure resources such as valuable fisheries. An institutional fishery management framework, unbound by territorial boundaries, is proposed in order to relieve the pressures of fisheries on security hot spots amidst territorial disputes.