AUSTRALIA: "ENMESHED - Australia and Southeast Asia's Fisheries"

Looking for literature on Asian fisheries I stumbled upon a very good paper written by Meryl J. Williams and published by the Lowy Institute for International Policy.

The title of the paper is "Enmeshed - Australia and Southeast Asia's Fisheries". It looks at the current situation in that part of the world (including Australia), it analyses how Australia is connected with the other countries in the region (Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Brunei Darussalam; Burma; Cambodia; East Timor; Malaysia and Singapore).

it is difficult to summarise the main findings but what I took from the paper is that cooperation in and proper implementation of, fisheries management is critical in harnessing issues that will affect all countries in the region, especially Australia. Among this "issues" (or, better said, challenges) the author identifies: illegal fishing, fish trade, fish stock sustainability and marine environmental conservation.

Yet, the thing that struck me most is that fisheries subsidies, let alone the words subsidy or subsidies, are not mentioned in the document. The only mention concerned subsidies for aquaculture in Vietnam. So one could deduct that subsidies do not afffect and/or would not affect the evolution of fisheries in the future in Southeast Asia. Such deduction would go against the widely held view that subsidies to fisheries, and especially some types of aid, can undermine the sustainable exploitation of fishery resources.

Given the fact that emerging economies will be the main palyers in fisheries in Southeast Asia (and elsewhere) susbidies will have to be regulated, in parallel to regulating fisheries, if fishery reources have to be preserved for future genrations.

I would like to end this comment by quoting the opening paragraph of the paper's Executive Summary:

"The training of diplomats, trade negotiators and supermarket executives in Australia and overseas usually does not cover the basics of fish and fishing, but maybe it should. In their careers, many will find themselves dealing with the challenges of illegal fishing, and other fish and fishing issues, such as fish trade, fish stock sustainability and marine environmental conservation. Nowhere is a fisheries education more pertinent than in Australia and Southeast Asia today."

The paper can be found at the follwing weblink:


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