CHINA: strategic importance of fisheries (and subsidies?)

In my previous posts I have been citing China as one of those WTO members that would like to have a broad margin of manoeuvre to grant subsidies to its fishing (and aquaculture industry). Actually China’s very first written submission to a WTO Negotiating Group was about fisheries subsidies (TN/RL/W/9 of 20 June 2002).
During summer time of this year I read an article published by the Jamestown Foundation and titled “Strategic Implications of Chinese Fisheries Development”.
I will quote two paragraphs of this article, which I found very informative:

“To mollify angry fishermen, the Chinese authorities have offered substantial subsidies to displaced fishermen and also supported aquaculture as a viable economic alternative to marine fisheries. Indeed, the aquaculture sector has witnessed enormous growth in China during the last decade.“

 “Yet, Chinese fishing fleets’ activities are much more than a regional issue.  Although China’s distant water fishing (DWF) fleet was only created in the mid-1980s, by 2006 it has grown to nearly 2,000 vessels operating on the high seas and in the EEZs of 35 countries [12].  The Chinese DWF fleet is actually supported by subsidies from the central government as part of an effort to divert Chinese fishermen out of local waters that have been fished out.  For instance, according to an authoritative source, the number of Chinese fishing vessels in West African waters at any one time could be close to 300 vessels at any given time [13].”

12. Guifang (Julia) Xue, “China’s Distant Water Fisheries and Its Response to Flag State Responsibilities,” Marine Policy 30 (2006), p. 653.
13. Wang Ning (ed.), Handbook on Long-Distance Fishing Technology and Economy (Beijing:  Ocean Press, 2002), p. 74.

The full reference of the article is the following:
Lyle Goldstein , “Strategic Implications of Chinese Fisheries Development” China Brief, Volume: 9 Issue: 16 (August 2009)  The Jamestown Foundation, Washington.

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