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Fisheries in the Pacific

 | 
Simonne Pauwels
, 
Elodie Fache

The other side of large-scale, no-take, marine protected areas in the Pacific Ocean

Yan Giron

Testo integrale

Introduction

Marine protected areas (MPAs), legal tools with multiple purposes

1Since the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, States around the world have strengthened their commitment to marine protection. They have pledged to protect 20% of the marine areas under their jurisdiction, with at least 10% under strict no-take protection. The legal tool identified to secure this protection is the marine protected area (MPA).

  • 1 Some bibliographic references are available in Leenhardt et al. 2013.

2Under the classification system of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), MPAs can have different levels of protection, ranging from a simple supervision of extractive activities to complete protection of areas from human activities. A certain number of scientific publications1 furthermore encourage the constitution of MPA networks. They do so both to enable the conservation of sensitive biotopes and biodiversity reservoirs and in the hope that the beneficial effects of this protection will spread to unprotected adjacent areas (spill-over effect).

3This question of the spill-over effect requires scientific monitoring over time, both in protected and unprotected areas. It is also politically the most sensitive point when used extensively a priori by charitable trusts to sway public opinion in favour of full protection MPA networks. These trusts consider that the beneficial effects of spatial bans on fishing and spill-over to adjacent areas are systematically valid certainties when, in fact, there are uncertainties with regard to these points. Spill-over effects are in fact highly dependent on local conditions, both biological and environmental. A categorical approach to the subject is inadvisable, particularly in relation to the size of MPAs with complete protection from fishing and the intensity of grids linking MPAs. The risk is that a dogmatic approach to MPAs will be adopted.

4The importance of the governance dimension of maritime territories associated with MPAs, in addition to that of their protection, has gradually come to the fore. MPAs are seen now as a tool allowing a degree of collaborative management of these territories, linking stakeholders who previously were not necessarily involved in the governance of their use (economic operators, coastal communities, local governments, States) (Gascuel and Hénichart 2011). MPAs also can be used in coastal areas to support the management of extractive activities such as fishing. This is notably when conventional fishing management approaches are insufficient, or when the resources required for these approaches are lacking. The question of governance may then be used to mobilize different stakeholders on a maritime territory to set up collective learning processes to manage the natural environment. It also can be advanced to regulate access to MPAs.

5Since the mid-2000s, a new dimension has emerged: the political, and even geopolitical dimension. Setting up protection through an MPA can thus be presented to States by the different supporters of this tool as a means to strengthen their control of coastal and maritime space, notably in the Pacific but also elsewhere.

Marine environmental conservation in the Pacific

6In order not to downplay the importance of environmental and marine biodiversity issues in the Pacific, we shall briefly review them here.

7Islands are intrinsic havens of both land and marine biodiversity. Island ecosystems are indeed isolated ecological ensembles characterized by varying degrees of endemism. Shallow water tropical marine ecosystems, notably reef ecosystems, are furthermore characterized by a high concentration of biodiversity. This endemism and biodiversity also are found in the deep sea (not exploited by pelagic fisheries activities), notably in hydrothermal areas and seamounts. Human exploitation activities threaten these ecosystems when they are carried out in an unsustainable manner outside the framework of traditional or government management systems. The desire to create coastal MPAs on islands to protect reef ecosystems leads to the creation of MPA networks because island States predominate in the Pacific and consequently form a network. Certain species, notably birds, link these island spaces. In deep sea areas, connections are made through local physical and chemical conditions and marine currents.

8Ocean acidification due to a higher concentration of carbon dioxide also is a major challenge, in particular in the Western Pacific. This acidification in turn impacts carbonate marine ecosystems, notably reef ecosystems. Changes in the populations appear, with the selection of coral resistant to acidification and the disappearance of more sensitive species.

9Sand extraction (Gay 2014) and the use of coral reefs as raw material for construction (Seidel and Lal 2010) were one cause of the weakening of low-lying islands. When such activities are undertaken outside a sensibly planned framework, the natural defences of islands against rising sea levels are enfeebled and limited, exposing them to the flood risks associated with global warming.

10The overfishing of some highly migratory species (tuna, sharks) affects the sustainability of their exploitation. It should be noted that the conservation of these species does not involve the same fisheries management conditions as reef or benthic or demersal species. The benefit of full protection (no-take) for highly migratory species via the establishment of strictly protected MPAs covering entire exclusive economic zones (EEZs) has yet to be determined because the geographic range of these species is wider than the boundaries of these EEZs. We do not know to what degree the shift of fishing activities outside the prohibited areas reduces the impact on these species of the full protection enforced inside MPAs. Moreover, the absence of proven scientific justification for protection through the strict prohibition of fishing activities over vast areas the size of an EEZ was recently highlighted in a scientific publication (Leenhardt et al. 2013).

  • 2 The expressions “large”, “wide ranging” and “large-scale” associated with MPAs in this work are equ (...)

11The question of managing total fishing capacity and intensity also is not addressed by full protection approaches which do not cover the full geographic repartition of the fishing stocks targeted by this management measure. As these species are migratory, the benefits of large-scale2 fishing bans are lower than those of a balanced management of fishing intensity over the entire spatial and temporal life cycle of these species. However, smaller protection areas, on certain stages in the life cycles of these species, can offer occasional benefits.

  • 3 In conformance with the 4 August 1995 adoption of the United Nations agreement on the conservation (...)

12The total spatial ban approach also reveals some implicit assumptions: the first is that States cannot ensure standard fisheries management because they are subject to economic constraints; the second is that economic operators (in this context, diverse fisheries stakeholders) are incapable of following management rules. A total ban removes the need to manage as there is no longer an exploitation activity to be managed. States are normally responsible for fisheries management, collaborating and arbitrating within regional fisheries management organizations (RFMO), in this case the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).3 The promotion of the large-scale, no-take MPA option thus could be seen as an action rivalling the standard management provided under the WCPFC.

13When flaws in fisheries management emerge, in the eyes of international law the WCPFC remains the only legitimate legal tool to bring about improvements at the geographic scale of the distribution of the species covered by this management. This is not the case of MPAs, even very large ones, which are promoted by the charitable trusts.

Island States, by their very nature a concentration of issues

14Due to their very insular nature, island States are faced with questions regarding the protection and management of maritime areas and the economic potentials associated with the exploitation of natural resources, as well as other challenges related to their strategic position.

15In the first part of this chapter, issues related to the exploitation of pelagic tuna will be examined.

16This will be complemented by a study of other issues such as those associated with deep sea mineral and offshore oil and gas resources, as well as those involving strategic questions of defence and leadership.

17Lastly, we will discuss the extent to which the process of creating large-scale, no-take MPAs was able to benefit from the intentional or opportune alignment of these issues. This concordance facilitates their establishment by States subject to lobbying campaigns by American charitable trusts. The latter support an approach organized around networks of large-scale, strictly no-take MPAs, particularly in the Pacific.

Tropical tuna fishing in the Pacific

The global issue of Pacific tuna

18Pacific tuna accounts for nearly three quarters of the world’s tuna supplies. Production is stagnating after a period of strong growth which lasted over ten years. Tuna catches in the Western and Central Pacific represent nearly two-thirds of global supplies (fig. 1), which confers a particularly strategic status on this region.

Figure 1: Trends in world tuna catches

Figure 1: Trends in world tuna catches

WCPO: Western and Central Pacific Ocean; EPO: Eastern Pacific Ocean.
Source: WCPFC 2014b

19Most tuna canning and processing plants supplied by these landings are located in the Pacific and along the Pacific Rim. In 2010, they represented 75% of global processing capacity (note: Thai canning plants were supplied by both Pacific and Indian Ocean catches).

20Pacific tuna thus represents a twofold issue, involving both catch and processing. These two sectors involve quite different economic benefits for the Pacific States: tax revenues from fishing permits and port landing charges, jobs and local taxes from canning and processing units. In many countries (even those with mining activities), the tuna sector is one of the leading economic resources alongside tourism.

The exploitation of tropical tuna in the Pacific

21Overall, Western and Central Pacific tuna are taken mainly by purse seine vessels (more than two-thirds of the catch) (fig. 2). Longline vessels account for 10% of the catch. The main fishing nations are the USA, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, and Papua New Guinea (PNG), with individual catches varying from 200 to 376,000 tonnes per year. Most of the catch is taken by long-distance fishing fleets (for more on this topic, see Allain et al. in this volume).

Figure 2: Main tuna fishing activities

Figure 2: Main tuna fishing activities

Source: WCPFC 2013

Table 1: Estimation of net fishing capacity per Pacific Small Island Developing State (PSIDS) in 2015

Table 1: Estimation of net fishing capacity per Pacific Small Island Developing State (PSIDS) in 2015

PS: Purse Seiners; LL: Long Liners; FVs: Fishing Vessels.
* “foreign-owned” = the assets of the company that owns these FVs are held by foreign (especially Chinese and Taiwanese) interests, whatever the flag of these FVs.
Source: WCPFC Record of Fishing Vessels database, https://www.wcpfc.int/​record-fishing-vessel-database (Accessed on December 12, 2015).

22One should note that while China, with a catch of about 120,000 tonnes in 2012/2013, does not appear as a major fishing nation, it has reflagged vessels in several Pacific Island States or operates them under charter. The reflagged vessels (the flag indicates the nationality of the vessel) no longer belong to the country of origin, but retain its economic interests. The countries which list these vessels in their national registers are attributed the catches and bear the associated responsibilities of these fleets in terms of declaring catch and respecting international conventions. Reflagged fleets can fish under the fishing authorisations of the new flag country. Fleets from the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan) are the main operators of this reflagging and chartering. The catch data of island States listing Chinese and Taiwanese fleets on their registers therefore include the catches made by these foreign economic operators (tab. 1). Some island States tie this reflagging to commitments to land and supply the processing units set up on their territories. Finally, it should be noted that this reflagging has allowed the national fleets of island States to grow since the end of the 1990s, which can be seen for example in the statistics on the number of longliner and purse seine vessels belonging to the countries concerned.

Figure 3: Catches by EEZ (in metric tonnes - mT) in 2012 — mainly purse seine estimates (Indonesia and Philippines not included)

Figure 3: Catches by EEZ (in metric tonnes - mT) in 2012 — mainly purse seine estimates (Indonesia and Philippines not included)

* Data extracted from national report; LL: Long Liners; PS: Purse Seiners; HS: High Seas.
Sources: Data summaries in support of discussion of the Conservation and Management Measures on tropical tunas for the 10th Meeting of the Scientific Committee of the WCPFC.

23Fig. 3 above presents WCPFC estimations of purse seine fleet catches per EEZ, and some estimations for national longliners. Data on the activity of foreign longliner vessels per EEZ is unavailable. Indonesian and Philippine purse seiner data are not presented because they cover small-scale activities which are monitored less at the statistical level. The combined data in fig. 3 represents 1.48 metric tonnes, or 60% of WCPFC tuna catches.

  • 4 See http://www.pnatuna.com/node/278 (Accessed on October 1, 2015).

24This figure provides an indirect view of the economic impacts associated with fishing permits and port taxes, and thereby an estimation of the States’ strategic dependence on fishing activities. Royalties have increased by nearly 200% over the past five years. This economic revival takes place in the context of the renewal of a multilateral fishing agreement with the USA and an overall increase in fees negotiated under the framework of private accords. It is difficult to estimate the actual economic returns due to the confidentiality covering private agreements. Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) saw a rise in annual revenue from US$60 million to US$350 million uniquely on the basis of the renegotiation of the American fishing agreement.4

Table 2: Location of main tuna processing units in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean

Country

Number of processing units

Yearly production estimates (mT of final processed products)

Ecuador

19

225,000 mT (450,000 mT **)

Fiji

1

1,000 mT

Kiribati

1

n/a

Philippines

8

100,000 mT*

Papua New Guinea

6

15,600 mT canned + 55,000 mT Frozen

Republic of Marshall Islands

1

n/a

American Samoa

2

130,000 mT?*, **

Samoa

(1)

n/a

Solomon Islands.

2

n/a

Thailand

n/a

400,000 mT (785,175 mT**)

*FFA 2010 estimates (Hamilton et al. 2011); **Data given as equivalent of final product production; Italics: estimation according to supply of raw materials data.
Sources: Various national reports to the 10th Meeting of the Scientific Committee of the WCPFC (see the “Annual reports – Part 1” tab on the web page https://www.wcpfc.int/​meetings/​10th-regular-session-scientific-committee (Accessed on October 26, 2015); Hamilton et al. 2011

25Tab. 2 presents the current distribution of tuna processing sites in the Pacific in terms of number of enterprises (with the absence of precise information for Thailand, which is the leading producer country). The processing capabilities of each country are estimated but this information remains uncertain. We should remember that Thailand is the main hub of these activities, followed by Ecuador, American Samoa and the Philippines. PNG is currently experiencing rapid growth and has developed port areas to attract investors (mainly Asian). Initiatives to create processing units are on the rise in the Pacific. This phenomenon brings States into competition. The limits on this development remain the total production capacity of the area, to avoid the creation of surplus processing capacities which would compete too strongly, and the absorption capacity of different markets recently impacted by economic crises.

26We have witnessed a recomposition and a concentration of economic decision making centres steering the processing and production sectors. Although there are a large number of tuna processing companies on the global level, they are owned by less than five holding companies. The control of processing activities is an important factor in the control of tuna production. Today, the main global processing operators are Dongwon, a Korean corporation, Thai Union, a Thai group, and Bolton, an international group. Trimarine, an Italian-American group, remains the global leader in the wholesale tuna trade while operating a set of activities ranging from fishing to processing, particularly in the Pacific. Fifteen years ago, the decision making centres were mainly Italian and American groups. They now are shared with Asia.

The status of fishing stocks

27The status of the exploitation of fishing stocks was described in detail by Allain et al. in this book. We provide a synthesis below (tab. 3).

Table 3: Status of main tuna fishing stocks exploited in the Pacific Ocean

Species

Pacific Ocean Areas

Status

2013 – catches (mT)

Skipjack Tuna

E

Moderately exploited

280,077

WC

Moderately exploited

1,797,897

Yellowfin Tuna

E

Fully exploited

228,112

WC

Moderately exploited

517,803

Albacore Tuna

N

Moderately exploited

92,870

S

Moderately exploited

84,835

Bigeye Tuna

E

Overfished

80,834

WC

Overfished

137,502

Bluefin Tuna

NE/SE

Overfished

15,000

E: Eastern; WC: Western and Central; N: Northern; S: Southern
Sources: WCPFC 2014b and 2014c; www.atuna.com (Accessed on July 10, 2015)

  • 5 See various NGOs position papers from 2010 to 2014 issued prior to the meetings of the Scientific C (...)

28The lobbying campaigns by American charitable trusts consist in informing the general public about themes such as fish exploitation via the press, through petitions, and by distributing publications and reports which they have funded. These campaigns today convey messages about widespread overexploitation and irresponsible fishing practices.5 The trusts also present finning activities (fishing to retain shark fins, with or without the rest of the carcass) as a dominant practice of Asian longliners, known for a large number of shark bycatch. They use the emotional impact of this practice to drive the media message. The trusts also raise doubts about the use of fish aggregating devices (FADs), which in their view have an unduly high impact on the environment.

29Scientific opinion regarding tuna stocks differs slightly from the image projected by these lobbying campaigns. Overexploitation is indeed noted for bigeye tuna and bluefin tuna, mainly targeted by Asian longliners and destined for the profitable sashimi market. PNA is also concerned about the situation of these stocks. However, the stocks which support most of the processing units are actually between a moderate and a full state of exploitation (skipjack, yellowfin, albacore tuna) (see also Allain et al. in this book), which is the sustainable management objective that is the most productive over the long term. There effectively is an increase in fishing pressure on juveniles due to an excessive use of FADs, notably with regard to overexploited bigeye, but these activities are also beginning to be subject to rules and regulations.

30With regard to sharks, the situation is mixed depending on the species (Patterson et al. 2014). Statistical coverage remains to be improved, but the data which are available nonetheless allow the status of five stocks to be identified (tab. 4).

Table 4: Status of main shark stocks in the Pacific Ocean

Species

Status

2012 – catches (mT) in WCPO

% of finning in 2009 *

Blue Shark

Fully exploited

29,864

≈ 40%

Silky Shark

Overfished

1,565

≈ 10%

Oceanic Whitetip Shark

Overfished

801

≈ 30%

Mako Shark

Overfished

4,016

≈ 50%

*Clarke et al. 2014.
Sources: WCPFC 2014b and 2014c; Clarke et al. 2014

31The blue shark (WCPFC 2014a) shows a full exploitation rate in line with the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) management target. This species is mainly exploited in the WCPFC by diverse Asian fleets. The other shark stocks monitored are overfished. Depending on the shark species, finning remained an important activity in 2009 despite regulatory prohibitions. However, monitoring of shark bycatch does not find levels as high as those proclaimed by the American charitable trusts. These trusts also point to uncertainty about scientific advice, notably regarding blue sharks, even though the WCPFC (2014a) integrates these levels of uncertainty into its scientific advice about this species. The bycatch theme, notably shark bycatch, remains nonetheless a topic of concern with regard to the sustainable fishing of tuna stocks, whether by longline or purse seine vessels. Mitigation measures were identified under the WCPFC framework.

32Lastly, over and above the question of shark and tuna exploitation levels, certain charitable trusts (not necessarily American) take a dogmatic position with regard to the exploitation of skipjack tuna, notably singling out its industrial character. Its mode of exploitation is seen as essentially harmful (due to this industrial nature), although stock management opinion does not confirm this feeling, and this species plays a major role in fishing and processing activities.

  • 6 See various propositions of management issued prior to the meetings of the Scientific Committee of (...)

33The current issues at stake in fisheries management within the WCPFC concern the management of fishing intensity, which involves the definition of fishing intensity levels (in fishing days per year, see the Vessel Day Scheme discussed by Allain et al. in this volume) and the setting of target reference points. This notably involves defining precise management objectives6 and ensuring the effective implementation of corresponding management measures.

The current issues of Pacific tuna economic exploitation

34The Pacific States with high stakes in tuna are PNG, Kiribati, and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), which concentrate the bulk of purse seine vessel activity (fig. 4). One may add Nauru, the Marshall Islands, the Salomon Islands, Tuvalu and Tokelau, which are also located in the geographic heart of tuna territory but have smaller EEZ surface areas, reducing the space which can be exploited and catch opportunities. PNG has stakes in both fishing and fishing product processing. Other States carry less weight in absolute terms, such as Palau, the Cook Islands, and Fiji, but tuna remains an important source of income for the countries’ economies next to tourism.

  • 7 The reflagging strategy is also of interest to the fleets’ countries of origin, which must reduce t (...)

35Asian fleets are very active in the EEZs of Pacific States, whether under their own flags, or under charter or reflagging arrangements. They also represent a major stake for the Pacific States hosting them, allowing these States to expand the activity of their national fleets, notably in PNG, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, the Salomon Islands, and Fiji. Listing these fleets in their national registers through reflagging also allows the States involved to strengthen their political hands, notably when a coastal State is negotiating returns on fishing with long-distance foreign fishing fleets.7 For these States, what is at stake is the affirmation of their sovereignty over their maritime space, as was seen in the 1970s with the first wave of nationalisation of maritime space through the establishment of EEZs. For an island nation, another means to assert its sovereignty is to increase the size of its national fleet because this enables the country to permanently maintain more national vessels at sea, thereby rendering the economic interests linked to fishing activities more visible, and thus strengthen the legitimacy of the nationalisation of maritime spaces. This sovereignty strategy based on the growth of national fleets confers benefits as well as duties on the host countries, notably in terms of respecting their commitments to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which they have signed. The duties of these host countries notably include ensuring that all vessels lying their lag within the WCPFC respect the rules for the sustainable management of fisheries and the establishment of a system to control the maritime activities of their national fleets. The growth of national fleets also has a major geopolitical dimension for the small island States involved, which seek to affirm their maritime strength and which need to develop their economies. We also note that the small island States’ negotiating power in relation to long-distance foreign fishing fleets has increased, as testified by the increase in revenues from permits sold to these foreign fleets to access Pacific EEZs.

Figure 4: Locations and issues of tropical tuna activities in Western and Central Pacific Ocean

Figure 4: Locations and issues of tropical tuna activities in Western and Central Pacific Ocean

36The activities of foreign and reflagged fleets can be associated with harbour operations, facilitated by the implantation of communities from the vessels’ home countries in the ports of landing. This situation also constitutes a form of cultural diplomacy which provides other economic and diplomatic benefits between a vessel’s country of origin and the host island State. Through these maritime and harbour components, Asian fishing activities in the Western and Central Pacific hold a real geopolitical dimension for the countries of origin.

Position of charitable trusts with regard to these fisheries issues

  • 8 See documents in the folder “NGO Papers” available for each meeting of the Scientific Committee of (...)

37American charitable trusts respond to the issues facing tuna-exploiting countries, whether island States or operators of distant-water fleets, with three types of pressure strategies. First, they are observers within the WCPFC and produce position papers for annual negotiations.8 This participation is normal, and results from the 1996 reform of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC —resolution 1996/31) aiming to increase concertation with NGOs. Second, they conduct lobbying campaigns to sway public opinion (see above). Third, they promote large-scale no-take MPAs and sweeping bans on shark fishing, topics which are also covered by their public opinion and government lobbying campaigns.

38The charitable trusts legitimize their pressure campaigns on fishing activities by highlighting (real) overfishing, caused mainly by longliners which target bigeye and bluefin tuna and take shark bycatch. As can be seen in fig. 4, these longliner fleets are also those with the greatest spatial range. The campaigns conducted by American charitable trusts in annual WCPFC negotiations regarding these species (bigeye and bluefin tuna) aim to incite member WCPFC States to make regulatory decisions to reconstitute overfished stocks. They are thus part of the standard governance process of RFMOs, in this case the WCPFC.

39In contrast, the charitable trusts’ calls to halt the exploitation of stocks that are not subject to scientifically proven overfishing are much less legitimate. Such calls undermine the counterweight role played by trusts, particularly when conveyed in pressure campaigns. These campaigns rely on simplifications along the lines of “tuna fishing is unsustainable fishing”, an excessively negative picture of FADs (although it is necessary to regulate the use of freely drifting FADs), and a highly publicised divide between supposedly immoral industrial fishing and supposedly virtuous small-scale fishing. Furthermore, this less nuanced position of the trusts indirectly suggests that Pacific States would prioritise economic development over environmental conservation objectives and the control of illegal fishing. In that case, promoting large-scale, no-take MPAs (in other words, where there are no fisheries management decisions to make as everything is banned) would appear to be a strategic response to the fact that the States balance conservation decisions against other economic and social criteria.

40However, many of these Pacific States — involved in the fisheries sector — are themselves asking for measures to supervise fishing activities, associated with an economic re-evaluation of fishing permits as testified by the positions of PNA member States in the various position papers produced during the annual WCPFC meetings. My analysis indicates that, rather than investing in large-scale no-take MPAs, sustained efforts to improve inter-State collaboration on regional fisheries management should be maintained as this collaboration is quite recent compared to the long collaborative management seen in other RFMOs. Launching an RFMO is a long process in which each State acts according to its own geopolitical objectives, beyond alliances and agreements. RFMOs involve common rules and duties based on international law. It is thus important to strengthen this management tool, which operates at the level of all life cycles of the species concerned.

Other geopolitical issues in the Pacific

41The presentation of tuna activities demonstrated the economic, environmental, and geopolitical importance of fishing activities. In terms of maritime activities, other issues may be highlighted, amongst which we will explore deep sea mineral resources and issues of defence and leadership.

Energy and non-energy deep sea mining issues

42With regard to deep sea mining issues, it is necessary to distinguish between energy and non-energy questions. Energy mining resources involve marine offshore oil and gas. Non-energy mining issues are essentially related to rare strategic minerals that have not been exploited yet.

Deep sea energy mining resources

  • 9 See for instance the conflict between Vietnamese fishermen and a Chinese exploration platform in Ap (...)

43The issues related to the exploitation of offshore oil and gas resources are well-known and relatively well understood. These resources are concentrated in the western part of the Pacific (fig. 8) which has extensive continental shelves. The proved and probable reserves of the South China Sea have given rise to numerous geostrategic tensions, presented in the media as a clash between China and other coastal States, essentially Vietnam and the Philippines, related to maritime territorial claims.9

Figure 5: 2013 consumption, self-sufficiency and origins of complementary supply of oil and gas in the Asia-Pacific area

Figure 5: 2013 consumption, self-sufficiency and origins of complementary supply of oil and gas in the Asia-Pacific area

Self-sufficiency in production/consumption.
Source: BP 2014

44In terms of global geostrategic weight, the energy resources of the Asia-Pacific area (South Asia included) have only an average importance (fig. 5). According to British Petroleum statistics (BP 2014), they represent 2.5% of world oil reserves in 2013 and 8% of world gas reserves, but 9.5% of world oil production and 14.5% of world gas production. China is the leading producer in the region with 208 million tonnes of oil per year (5% of world production) and 117 billion cubic metres of gas (3.5% of world production). China alone accounts for more than half of oil production in the region. China, Indonesia and Malaysia together represent half of the gas production in the region.

45While the production of the Asia-Pacific region is not important on the world scale, it nonetheless plays an important role at the regional scale. Gas and oil produced in the region — with the exception of South Asia — is mainly consumed by countries in the region. Only 20 million tonnes of oil were exported to other regions of the world in 2013 (or less than 1% of world trade in oil), of which 7.2 million tonnes went to the USA (or less than 1.5% of their supplies). If one considers the oil and gas self-sufficiency rates of the main consumer countries in the region (fig. 5), one notes that:

  • China, the principal consumer of oil and gas in the region, meets 39% of its demand for oil and 71% of its demand for gas through its own production. The remainder of its supplies comes mainly from the Middle East (45%) for oil, and from Turkmenistan via pipeline (50%) for gas. The portion of its supplies coming from other countries in the Asia-Pacific region is 11% for oil and 26% for gas.

  • Japan, which does not produce energy resources, meets 73% of its demand for oil and 30% of its demand for gas with supplies from the Middle East. The share of its supplies from other countries in the Asia-Pacific region is 13% for oil and 51% for gas.

  • South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan, nonproducer countries, also mainly supply themselves from the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region.

  • The other main consumer countries (Australia, Thailand, New Zealand) supply themselves mostly from the Asia-Pacific region.

46At the regional scale, production ensures a significant share of internal supplies, complementing the imports from the Middle East. It reflects the geostrategic issues of this area, notably in relation to conflicts in the South China Sea. However, dependence on the Middle East remains high in all of the countries of the area (fig. 5). It has increased over the past decade with regard to both oil and gas, in particular for China. The corresponding flows transit through the Strait of Malacca and the South China Sea, and thus depend on the freedom of passage of merchant vessels through this straight (see the notion of the “Malacca dilemma” further down).

  • 10 Even if its economic growth slows, many factors can influence its consumption profile, such as gas/ (...)

47Elsewhere, Chinese investment projects aim to diversify supply routes (fig. 6). We may briefly cite the Sino-Russian gas and oil pipelines which will serve eastern China; the Sino-Pakistani pipeline starting from the port of Gwadar to serve western China; the Sino-Burmese oil and gas pipelines; and lastly the Iran-Sino-Pakistani gas pipeline. China is the only nation to invest in such alternative routes to marine traffic. While the evolution of the Chinese energy demand is uncertain,10 its needs are such that its dependence on maritime flows of energy is likely to remain high, even if this is attenuated by alternative routes.

  • 11 http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/12/25/business/economy-business/methane-hydrate-extracted-sea (...)

48A final point must be highlighted. New technologies are being developed that could allow the use of alternative energies (such as ocean thermal energy for the small island States) or nontraditional marine hydrocarbons. For the latter, methane hydrates trapped in marine sediments are being sought, in particular by Japan. The first successful extraction took place in April 2013. Japanese researchers have since estimated that the methane hydrates reserves available in their EEZ could cover up to one hundred years of their needs at current levels.11 Marine deuterium (deuterium oxide) could also have energy uses. Important reserves were identified on the frontier of the marine EEZs of Palau and the Philippines and on the South China Sea side of the Philippines’ EEZ.

Figure 6: Trends 2003-2013 in the origins of the supply of oil and gas for China

Figure 6: Trends 2003-2013 in the origins of the supply of oil and gas for China

Sources: BP 2004; BP 2014.

Deep sea non-energy mining resources

  • 12 Nautilus Minerals’ press release on April 24, 2014: “Nautilus Minerals and State of PNG Resolve Iss (...)

49Although it was discussed in the mid-1970s, strictly speaking there is still no deep sea marine mining. The sector is still in a stage of quantifying potentials, estimating impacts, and exploration. On the other hand, offshore deep sea technologies are making the development of exploitation possible. The most advanced Pacific nation in this regard is PNG, with the exploitation in its EEZ of hydrothermal sulphides by the Nautilus Minerals company.12

  • 13 See numerous press releases on the website of the company Nautilus Minerals, http://www.nautilusmin (...)

50This same company is exploring the possibility of mining polymetallic nodules in its concession in the Clarion Clipperton international zone.13

51The most likely driver of the development of these operations will be the demand for certain strategic minerals which are becoming less available on land. The main strategic minerals in the Pacific identified at present are marine rare earths. The metals known as rare earths are essential components of new information and communication technologies (screens, telephones, computer hardware) and renewable energies (for example, magnets of wind turbines, batteries of electric cars, super conductors).

52The global land production of rare earths is today the quasi monopoly of China (fig. 7). The low cost of their production suggests that it is undertaken under conditions that have a high environmental impact. Over the 1985-1990 period, China and the USA were the principal world producers. In 1998, China accounted for over 85% of global production and it has maintained this dominant position. In 2011, China placed heavy restrictions on exports to international markets (which represent over 30% of its production) to supply its own domestic market on a preferential basis.

Figure 7: Trends in world rare earth oxide production

Figure 7: Trends in world rare earth oxide production

Source: U.S. Geological Survey, http://www.usgs.gov/​ (Accessed on July 9, 2015)

  • 14 http://mapserver.isa.org.jm/GIS/ (Accessed on July 9, 2015).

53In the marine environment, rare earths are present and concentrated in four forms (for their exact distribution, see the online International Seabed Authority (ISA) atlas14):

  • Hydrothermal sources (hydrothermal sulphides). These sources are present over all oceanic ridges and at volcanic sites. They are very widespread in the Pacific and are not featured on the summary overview map (fig. 8).

  • Cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts. These are situated at the level of seamounts. They are mainly located in the EEZs of island States, in international waters and in the EEZ of Eastern Pacific coastal States.

  • Polymetallic nodules. According to the latest information, the richest areas are in the Central Pacific and in the Clarion Clipperton international zone.

  • Marine seabed sediment rich in rare earths. Following Japanese explorations in the 2000s, the distribution of the richest sediments is estimated mainly in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

54The legal regimes for the exploitation of these resources are distinct depending on whether they are located in EEZs or in the international high seas zone (referred to hereafter as “the Zone”). In the EEZs, exploitation falls under the legal regime of the State involved, which manages all of it following the rules of United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). In the Zone, exploitation is also regulated by UNCLOS, which created the International Seabed Authority (ISA) for this end, and the resources have the status of global public goods. The USA has not ratified UNCLOS but applies its principles within its EEZ. In contrast, in the Zone the USA cannot participate in the ISA mechanism.

55The maritime exploitation of rare earths has not begun yet (in either the EEZs or in the Zone) but there is deep scientific concern about environmental impacts. Scientific evidence regarding the quantification and forecasting of these impacts is incomplete, particularly as no reference exploitation exists yet. Nonetheless, there is a sense that these impacts will be very different depending on the type exploited (hydrothermal sources, ferromanganese crusts, polymetallic nodules, marine sediments) and the exploitation area considered (Dyment et al. 2014). Acquiring the knowledge needed on this subject is today a major objective.

56Given global demand for these minerals, paradoxically amplified by green growth strategies which need a lot of this type of material, the strategic issues at stake are high for private enterprises and States. For the Pacific States, it is a major opportunity for economic diversification and growth, as well as the development of new macroeconomic rents.

57Like for the economic resources derived from fishing, deep sea mining issues lie at the heart of the Pacific States’ claims over marine space. If these States wish to fully benefit from the economic opportunities associated with these activities, they must implement a full blown strategy of maritime power, at their respective levels, which assumes a strong assertion of maritime sovereignty.

58The map below (fig. 8) superimposes all of the deep sea mineral resources described in this chapter, which allows one to estimate their distribution and locate the associated geostrategic issues (note: the hydrothermal sulphide concentrations are not represented).

Figure 8: Location of marine minerals in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean

Figure 8: Location of marine minerals in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean

Strategy and leadership issues

  • 15 Most of the updated bibliographic references of the strategy and leadership section can be consulte (...)

59The Pacific has been an arena of strategic confrontation for many years. To strengthen their hands in these power games, States in the region are developing today strategies which combine “hard power” (strategic, military) with “soft power” (influence and maintaining leadership) actions. The following paragraphs will briefly present these strategies.15

The notion of a maritime pivot

60First, it would be worthwhile to point at a methodological and analytic tool applied to the case of the Pacific: the maritime pivot. It is a tool which I developed for maritime analyses and named by extrapolating from the term used by American diplomacy in the field of international relations (the “Asia-Pacific Pivot”). At present, I can identify some fifteen maritime pivots in the world.

61I define a maritime pivot as a coherent functional set associating public and private actors, issues, maritime territories and control points which shape the implementation of priority power strategies for the States involved.

62In the Asia-Pacific region, this pivot consists of the following elements (fig. 9):

  • A core in which the most significant activities and issues are concentrated. Hard power is dominant in this area. It consists of the entire “Malacca Straits” and its eastern outlet, the South China Sea. All of the States interacting on the maritime issues of the pivot are particularly concerned by the free and peaceful flow of commercial traffic through this core. Also found in the core are strategic possibilities and sources of economic development (here, the supply and procurement of energy, but also fishing and freedom of navigation) for countries dependent on the pivot. This in particular is translated into claims over maritime territories. The boundaries of the core have evolved greatly over time, successively including or not including the East China Sea and Taiwan. At the end of 2014/beginning 2015, pressure was most focused on the South China Sea. However, given the geopolitical tensions which are currently building, it is possible that by the end of 2015, the core of the pivot will again include the East China Sea, Taiwan and Japan.

  • Two maritime approaches (in the geographic and maritime sense of the word): a western approach which includes the Chagos Archipelago, and an eastern approach which includes South Korea and Japan in the northeast, and the Mariana Islands, Palau, FSM and northern Australia in the southeast. At the level of the approaches, hard power and soft power underpin the strategies deployed in the core.

  • The boundaries of the pivot encompass all of the States which are either directly concerned by shared pivot concerns, or indirectly concerned through diplomatic gamesmanship. Geographically, the eastern side of the Indian Ocean, the western side of the Pacific Ocean, and the East China Sea are thus included. Although the latter has its own strategic issues, it is notably connected to the pivot through Chinese and American maritime strategies which do not distinguish questions regarding the South China Sea from those of the East China Sea.

Figure 9: Brief presentation of the main components of the Asia-Pacific maritime pivot.

Figure 9: Brief presentation of the main components of the Asia-Pacific maritime pivot.

63Finally, we note that this notion of a maritime pivot applies equally to the two main protagonists, China and the USA, which determine the main movements and manoeuvres within this pivot.

The main American strategies on the maritime pivot

  • 16 See in particular Global Trends 2030, http://www.dni.gov/index.php/about/organization/globaltrends- (...)

64These principles are above all dictated by the relationship between the USA and China16 and the perception of the Asia-Pacific area as the driver of the global economy and diplomacy. China is seen at once as a challenger of American diplomacy, a rising diplomatic partner in what has become a multipolar world where the USA can no longer act alone as the global policeman, and lastly as a both profitable and competitive trading partner. Concerns also include questions of internal stability in China, notably regarding expectations of democracy entertained by an emerging middle class and the stability of Chinese stock markets.

  • 17 US Department of the Navy, March 2015, “A Cooperative Strategy for XXIst Century Seapower”, http:// (...)

65This vision is reflected in a number of strategic government positions, notably under the two Obama administrations. First and foremost, from a diplomatic and defence angle, Hillary Clinton initiated, to the benefit of the pivot, a strategy to rebalance American commitments between the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific pivot (Clinton 2011). This is notably reflected in the orientation of American diplomacy, but above all in their maritime military strategy (last updated in March 201517). These strategies interact with negotiations to conclude the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement.

The main Chinese strategies on the maritime pivot

66Since opening up to the market economy under Deng Xiaoping in 1979, China has had to reconsider its geostrategic positions in the light of its economic growth and the need to secure its vital interests. From a maritime perspective, this resulted in the mid-1980s with the formulation of the “lines” doctrine by the strategist Admiral Liu Huaqing. This doctrine assigned three spatial and temporal objectives to the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) for the control of its coastal and offshore waters (Cole 2014): (1) by 2000, PLAN should be able to exert control over the first line of islands, extending from the Kouriles to the Indonesian archipelago, including Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines (in other words, the South and East China Seas); (2) by 2020, PLAN should be able to exert power over a second belt of islands, from the Kouriles to the Indonesian archipelago including the Mariana Islands and Palau; (3) by 2050, PLAN should be able to act on the global level with a carrier battle group. Starting from this time, there have been three geopolitical considerations: military, political (in particular with regard to the question of Taiwan) and economic (securing the maritime trade routes sustaining China’s development). We also note that the second line is considered to be less of a military objective and more of an expression of strong Chinese influence.

67In November 2003, Hun Jintao pronounced a discourse taken up later in the guise of the “Malacca Dilemma” (Amelot 2010). This speech echoed themes of the 1990s, a period rich in Sino-American conflicts, and focused on the Taiwan question. It implied that PLAN’s capabilities would not allow it to simultaneously engage in an armed conflict with Taiwan while ensuring the free passage of strategic supplies through the Malacca Straits (Amelot 2010).

68Over the past 15 years, China has undertaken cooperation and investment activities enabling it to advance on four fronts detailed below, both in a westerly direction to secure maritime routes, and in an eastern direction in accordance with the strategic lines defined by Liu Huaqing:

    • 18 Spratleys: Johnson South Reef, Mischief Reef. Paracels: Woody Island, Duncan Islands.

    First, the modernisation of its navy and nearby naval bases, notably in the South China Sea on contested islands (the Spratleys and Paracels18);

  • Second, the creation of a network of port cooperation arrangements (known as the “String of Pearls”) meant to act as both logistical relays for PLAN (ensuring it a capacity to stay outside areas under its authority and to support its sea-trade routes) and as departure points for oil and gas pipelines;

  • Third, moves in a game of influence and cooperation as well as naval actions to ensure China’s effective maritime might;

  • And lastly, for the record, the development of a rail link with Europe and gas and oil pipelines allowing it to bypass the Malacca maritime route with a Eurasian land route and thereby ensure the creation of energy corridors supporting Chinese interests (Iran, Pakistan, Myanmar).

  • 19 16 April 2014, “Xinhuanet. Chinese Navy safeguards security of int’l sea lines of communication: wh (...)

69These strategic principles were reaffirmed by Xi Jinping in 2013 with the “One Belt, One Road” slogan (the concept of a modern Silk Road). The “belt” represents here neighbouring Eurasian States sharing a “common destiny” with China, and the “road” refers both to the maritime and land routes. This strategy is articulated in economic and diplomatic terms, and PLAN must ensure the maritime safety dimension. PLAN now even includes an objective to protect China’s “vital economic interests” in its white papers.19

70The formulation of routes in an easterly direction towards the Pacific is less explicit in the official discourse. However, this process draws from Liu Huaqing’s strategic lines. This is shown in the route linking the Mariana Islands, PNG and New Caledonia which corresponds to the second belt of archipelagos defined by Liu Huaqin. Chinese economic and diplomatic activity along this axis increased over the past few years through the economic features of fishing and onshore mining projects (nickel), support provided following natural catastrophes (PLAN thus serves as a tool of diplomacy and influence through its disaster relief work) and diplomatic pressure regarding the recognition or not of Taiwan.

The resulting lines of defence

71For the USA, the rebalancing of forces towards the Asia-Pacific pivot is leading to an increase and modernization of their naval capabilities deployed on this pivot and the reinforcement of strategic alliances with Japan, the Philippines, Australia and Vietnam.

  • 20 16 April 2014, “Xinhuanet. Chinese navy intensifies blue water training: white paper”, http://news. (...)

72For China, as already mentioned, the rebalancing of forces towards the Asia-Pacific pivot is reflected in an increase in strength of both the coastal and high sea naval forces20 supported by the “String of Pearls”, the creation of port facilities with potential air and maritime military uses in the Paracel and Spratley Islands (April 2015), and lastly a gradual operationalization of the first carrier battle group.

Figure 10: Chinese, US and Russian strategic defence maritime lines on the Asia-Pacific pivot and in the Pacific Ocean

Figure 10: Chinese, US and Russian strategic defence maritime lines on the Asia-Pacific pivot and in the Pacific Ocean

73These moves, combined with Chinese claims over the entire South China Sea, is promoting intense remilitarisation activity in the largest countries of the Asia-Pacific region and the modernisation of their capabilities.

  • 21 This issue of South China Sea conflicts is not the main goal of this article. Readers can refer to (...)

74Certain American strategists refuse to think in terms of strategic lines, asserting a capability to intervene anywhere “outside the lines” in accordance with modern naval strategic principles (Cole 2011). However, these moves and the pre-positioning of corresponding capabilities can today be represented in the form of strategic maritime lines, whether with regard to the USA or China (fig. 10). In the West Pacific, the American and Chinese lines overlap. In a very simplified manner, one may grasp that the issues facing China in the Pacific are extension towards the east, control over the South and East China Seas, and access to international waters. The first line of islands is strongly affected by all of the conflicts directly involving “hard power” springing from the claims of diverse States over the South China Sea.21 The second line of Pacific Island States, with on the front row Palau, FSM and PNG, is directly concerned by “soft power”, meaning diplomatic-economic influence actions.

75On the Indian Ocean side, we should simply recall the importance of Chagos (US naval air station) which operates as a mirror of Asia-Pacific movements. Its interest must be viewed in conjunction with the influence actions of the USA in India and India’s own strategy concerning the Malacca Straits (the Looking East Policy).

American leadership

76We shall not review here all of the many American strategies to strengthen its alliances and leadership in the Pacific. They hold a historic dimension which has been well described. Let us simply recall that these strategies combine American alliances with western governments holding territorial possessions in the Pacific (France, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom) and historical American partnerships based on fundamental defence aspects with Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore. However, let us emphasize that these historical alliances evolve over time (see the USA-Philippines relationship) and are shaped by economic issues (Thailand thus may move closer to China). Recent tensions linked to the China Sea (2014 and 2015) are also leading to the conclusion of indirect partnership agreements with the USA, just as a new partnership between Vietnam and the Philippines seems to be forming, more in reaction to Chinese maritime policy than from a real tropism for America.

77Two elements should be specified here: the intergovernmental partnerships between the USA and three Pacific countries, and the mobilisation of public-private partnerships to facilitate the expression of American government leadership.

  • 22 See http://www.state.gov/e/oes/ocns/fish/bilateral/c33153.htm (Accessed on July 9, 2015).

78The Compact of Free Association associates the USA with Palau, FSM, and the Marshall Islands through three separate agreements. They include numerous components, of which one is economic support and another defence. On the economic front, the USA has endowed each of these three countries with a trust fund. The interest earned by these trust funds, invested on international markets, constitutes a public fiscal resource. These trust funds supplement revenue from fishing permits under the framework of the multilateral US fisheries treaty.22 The defence component stipulates that the signatory countries delegate their defence functions, whether these maritime, air, or land, to the USA. The USA exercises this military cooperation directly from its base in Guam, which ensures it a level of potential control similar to that of their own EEZ over a significant section of the West Pacific (located on the second line of islands defined by Liu Huaqing).

  • 23 See https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/09/22/fact-sheet-us-global-developmentpolicy ( (...)

79With regard to the mobilisation of public-private partnerships, on 22nd September, the USA presented the U.S. Global Development Policy.23 It notably mentions that to facilitate the implementation of American policies and diplomacy, strong partnership approaches need to be developed with private actors, nongovernmental organisations and philanthropies, and various American immigrant communities. This principle is applied heavily in the Pacific to strengthen American leadership there, notably in the negotiation process of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement. One may assume that it was also applied to other maritime questions.

Chinese leadership

  • 24 The expressions “Chinese enterprises”, “Chinese joint venture companies”, and “Chinese-owned compan (...)

80As seen above, Chinese leadership is expressed by combining an assertion of a will for power and the provision of economic support for sympathetic countries (for example, Pacific nations involved in reflagging processes). This economic support, particularly in the area of infrastructure, is financed by Chinese public investment banks and implemented by Chinese enterprises or Chinese joint-venture companies. Chinese-owned enterprises24 then establish themselves in the countries in question and can take an equity interest in or buy national companies. These leadership actions concern the Indian Ocean as well as the Pacific region.

  • 25 See http://thediplomat.com/2013/10/china-asean-joint-development-overshadowed-by-southchina-sea/ (A (...)

81With regard to tensions in the South China Sea, China is not seeking a resolution through the International Court of Justice (ICJ) based on UNCLOS. It prefers a resolution through a dual mechanism: the establishment of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea under the auspices of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the initiative of Indonesia; and the instauration of mutually beneficial joint development partnerships.25 Within ASEAN, China hopes notably for the support of Cambodia, Myanmar, and Thailand (the latter country could benefit from Chinese investments under the framework of strategies to bypass the pivot) and even Malaysia. As for the USA, what is involved is the promotion of interdependent economic ties to favour the peaceful resolution to military conflict risks. It is likely that China is seeking to encourage this path by occasionally demonstrating its military might elsewhere. The Philippines and Vietnam are considered to be local tactical rivals.

The fishing fleets (Chinese, Vietnamese, American, etc.) are they leadership tools?

82One cannot help but be struck by the number of violent incidents in the Asia-Pacific area (armed boardings, destruction of vessels, imprisonment of crews, summary executions, etc.), including in the island States, which involve fishing vessels inside potential areas of bitter geostrategic conflicts (both on the first and second belt of islands, meaning the centre of the pivot and its eastern approach). These misdeeds are carried out on the pretext of illegal fishing as much with respect to specific bans (sharks in Palau, for example) as to fishing practices in areas simultaneously claimed and contested over by several countries.

83Should one deduce that the fishing fleets are knowingly being used by China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan, Russia, North and South Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia to provoke conflicts and legitimize interventions aiming to protect their nationals? And, in so doing, are they demonstrating their maritime power and influence?

84The geostrategic dimension of fishing activities is not new; it was already significant in the 1970s to 1990s. Its return to centre stage is fuelled by the sovereignty claims over maritime areas by various coastal States, notably in the Pacific, and by the necessity of developing a regional framework for sustainable fisheries management, notably with regard to large pelagic migratory species.

85The Asian countries also are subject to international requirements to reduce their excess fishing capacities. They do so by the actual destruction of part of their capacities, but also by the exportation of capacities through reflagging, as described earlier. The international community doubts the effective capacities of host States to enforce sustainable fishing principles regarding illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing on the reflagged fleets. At the regional level, pelagic activities are nonetheless subject to reinforced fisheries regulations thanks to the gradual operationalization of the WCPFC since 2001, associated with national decisions to create large-scale, no-take MPAs or equivalent prohibitions such as shark sanctuaries.

86Returning to the case of China, its position is nuanced according to the location involved — within the maritime areas claimed by several States, including China, in the first belt of islands (core of the pivot), or within the area of the second line of islands (eastern approach of the pivot).

  • 26 A State considers that is has the right to board foreign vessels fishing within maritime space whic (...)

87In the first belt, the actions against an ensemble of fishing fleets are highly publicised through “nationalist” press campaigns, with armed boardings most often justified by questions of sovereignty.26 Mirroring this, other nations also reproduce sovereignty mechanisms by mobilizing their own fishing fleets and invoking both the historical character of traditional fishing zones and the legitimate and sovereign nature of their presence. The conflict in April 2014 between Vietnam and China was emblematic of this: China authorized one of its companies to conduct an offshore oil and gas exploration campaign in a contested area; Vietnamese fishing vessels put up opposition to the effort; and both sides were supported by their fisheries control and coast guard vessels. The conflict went so far as to ramming attempts and Chinese merchant communities in Vietnam suffered abuse.

  • 27 See for example the news article entitled, “Chinese Fishermen in Troubled Waters” published in Octo (...)

88Even in this type of situation, it is difficult to believe that the Vietnamese fishing vessels had received government orders to deliberately oppose the Chinese offshore oil and gas operation. The fishermen are effectively able to anticipate the economic consequence for themselves if they are denied access to fishing zones. They are not necessarily working in partnership with their State or its government administration.27 At most, State authorities guarantee them a form of protection at sea or monitor their movements.

89The geostrategic interests of States in the core of the Asia-Pacific maritime pivot overlap with the private geostrategic interest of fishing fleets. Both public and private actors use “hard power” types of open conflict actions.

90In the second belt of Western Pacific islands, the positions of the Chinese government are more moderate concerning armed boardings resulting from IUU activities of their vessels, for example in the territorial waters of Palau. China in contrast relies on diplomatic efforts to obtain peaceful resolutions to conflict, compatible with its joint economic development interests. IUU activities of fishers there disrupt Chinese diplomatic efforts.

91At the level of the approaches to the pivot, the Chinese government encourages the economic development of fishing activities through investments in infrastructure. It also encourages private Chinese investment in the fishing sector of sympathetic countries located in these areas.

  • 28 “Smart power” consists of a combination of “soft power” and “hard power” strategies.

92In response to these Chinese government efforts, there has been significant activity on the part of private American charitable trusts to encourage the creation of large-scale MPAs and of no-take shark sanctuaries. Historically, the lobbying campaigns of these trusts initially targeted two areas, the Chagos Islands on the Indian Ocean side, and the Mariana Islands and Palau on the Pacific side, resulting in the effective creation of no-take areas. These actions were part of “soft power”, or more precisely, “smart power”,28 mixing State diplomatic influence (here the USA against China) with the influence of nongovernmental actors (here, the American charitable trusts) in line with the American Global Development Policy doctrine of 2010.

93From the perspective of the Asia-Pacific maritime pivot, for both China and America there is a dichotomy between the core and the approaches of the pivot for both fishing activities and strategic and leadership activities. Yet it would be wrong to see this as evidence of intentional coordination. Each activity, public and private, follows its own logic. This does not hinder opportunistic rapprochements and public/private synergies when private and public objectives resonate with each other.

Figure 11: Synthesis of current trends underlying the strengthening of the Asia-Pacific marine pivot, both on Chinese and US sides

Figure 11: Synthesis of current trends underlying the strengthening of the Asia-Pacific marine pivot, both on Chinese and US sides

The Asia-Pacific maritime pivot, a combination of States (public) and private actors jockeying for power

94In conclusion, strategic (in the sense of defence) and leadership issues in the Pacific are essentially oriented around the Asia-Pacific pivot, which currently corresponds to the American and Chinese strategic reading of this area. In the Pacific, one discovers interactions between States based on strategic lines which are shared by both China and the USA (fig. 11). Since 2010, and notably in 2014, the USA has been reinforcing its lines around both the core and the approaches to the pivot. China is pushing these lines, both in the direction of the Indian Ocean and in the direction of the Pacific Ocean towards the tuna heartland, through joint economic development initiatives associated with fishing activities. For China, private sector fishing activities can indirectly serve to support the government’s intentions, but they can also undermine these through IUU fishing activities. On the American side, the ocean conservation activity of charitable trusts does not seem to be coordinated with government aims, but they nonetheless coincide with them, and the government uses the conservation arguments put forward by these trusts as a supplementary tool of influence. In practice, these trusts’ activities oppose the geographic inroads of private Asian fishing interests into the Pacific’s tuna heartland.

The development of large-scale, no-take MPAs

Panorama

95Since the mid-2000s, the creation of large-scale (over 100,000 km²), no-take MPAs and shark sanctuaries has accelerated. The first large-scale, no-take MPAs and shark sanctuaries created after 2006 are mainly positioned on areas with high geostrategic stakes, notably in relation to the Asia-Pacific maritime pivot and tuna.

  • 29 On PEW’s website (http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/about/mission-and-values, Accessed on July 10, 2015), (...)
  • 30 On its website (http://www.conservation.org/about/Pages/default.aspx# mission, Accessed on July 10, (...)
  • 31 See http://www.harteresearchinstitute.org/hri-s-panel-of-oil-spill-experts#searle (Accessed on July (...)
  • 32 See these two organisations’ websites for further information, respectively http://highseasalliance (...)
  • 33 See http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/projects/global-ocean-legacy (Accessed on July 10, 2015).
  • 34 See this organisation’s website for further information, http://oceans5.org/ (Accessed on July 10, (...)
  • 35 See the blog “How U.S. nonprofits came to care about fish” by Denis Devine, https://denisdevine.wor (...)
  • 36 See this organisation’s website for further information, http://www.oakfnd.org/ (Accessed on July 1 (...)
  • 37 See this organisation’s website for further information, http://www.lenfestocean.org/ (Accessed on (...)

96The designation of these areas is the responsibility of the States concerned, but quite often the creation of these protected areas are the result of heavy lobbying by charitable trusts, particularly American, through dedicated campaigns (see Leenhardt et al. 2013). The following table (tab. 5) shows the emergence of this trend over time. Three North American charitable foundations are preeminent: PEW Charitable Trusts (PEW),29 Conservation International,30 and Mission Blue (initiated by the American oceanographer Sylvia Earle and focussed on the protection of oceans). These actors themselves work in synergy. Sylvia Earle worked for about fifteen years in former subsidiaries and partner companies31 of SUNOCO, an oil company which was owned by the PEW family up to October 2012. She applies to oceans the concept, first put forward by Conservation International, of biodiversity “hot spots” (which becomes “hope spots”). Sylvia Earle is herself linked to diverse PEW initiatives such as the High Seas Alliance and the Global Ocean Commission,32 as well as the Global Ocean Legacy programme which specifically aims to create large-scale, no-take MPAs.33 Conservation International is behind initiatives in Kiribati and the Seychelles for which it has requested funding from the OCEANS 5 group,34 which is itself supported by PEW and partner charitable trusts. The head of PEW’s environmental division was himself, prior to 1990, vice-president of Conservation International and a congressional aid to the U.S. House of Representatives sub-committee on Foreign Affairs. Since the 1990s, PEW has assumed the role of coordinator and initiator on marine environment issues among charitable trusts and environmental NGOs.35 It is building de facto partnerships with other charitable trusts such as the Oak Foundation36 and the Moore (Intel) and Packard family foundations. It also intervenes in the creation of alliances between international environmental NGOs on various questions by ensuring secretariat and communication functions. It is estimated that one third of its 2012 operating budget was dedicated to questions of influence over the oceans, or about US $ 100 million/year; this “ocean orientation” has been in place since 1990. Lastly, PEW intervenes through the Lenfest Ocean Program,37 which it manages, to fund scientific research which it then puts to use in science-based lobbying. The Moore and Packard foundations also provide funding for this type of research.

97However, it is not because PEW, Mission Blue or Conservation International include the protection of maritime areas in their campaigns that they alone should receive credit for the creation of no-take MPAs and shark sanctuaries. States can also have an interest in creating large-scale MPAs (see notably Leenhardt et al. 2013), for diverse reasons: coherence with geostrategic interests, to comply with their international commitments with regard to protecting ocean areas, to seek international recognition through environmental issues, or to increase control over their EEZ with regard to illegal fishing pressure. In this case, the creation of large-scale MPAs is a direct or indirect realization of State objectives. As already mentioned (see the section, “Strategy and leadership issues”), the charitable trusts, which have their own objectives, then find themselves in agreement with the objectives of the States concerned, and establish supposedly win-win partnerships with these States, or present a communications partnership to reap benefits from the dynamics initiated by these States. The fact, noted above, that the first large-scale, no-take MPAs and shark sanctuaries established after 2006 are positioned principally on areas with high geostrategic stakes, notably with regard to the Asia-Pacific maritime pivot and tuna, is likely due to this concordance of objectives and the charitable trusts’ resulting strategies.

Table 5: Large-scale Marine Protected Areas and shark sanctuaries in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean

Table 5: Large-scale Marine Protected Areas and shark sanctuaries in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean

Sources: http://mpatlas.org/​explore/​ (Accessed on July 10, 2015) and various sources including charitable trusts’ documentation

  • 38 See http://www.iucn.org/about/work/programmes/gpap_home/gpap_quality/gpap_pacategories/ (Accessed o (...)

98We should note the application of the classification proposed by the IUCN, which classes protected areas according to their management objectives, is not always strict with regard to human activities within large-scale MPAs. The classification is based on categories which range from the most demanding management objectives (the statuses Ia — Strict Nature Reserve, Ib — Wilderness Area and II — National Park) to more flexible objectives (status V — Protected Landscape/Seascape and VI — Protected area with sustainable use of natural resources).38 Yet the choice to ban fishing is predominant in large-scale MPAs, which confers a very particular status on fishing compared to other human activities. In MPA creation processes, one also may observe that a total ban on fishing can subsequently be relaxed by an authorisation of so-called “traditional” fishing activities. The no-take feature of MPAs mainly consists of prohibiting large pelagic fisheries and/or banning long-distance fleet activity. In the following paragraphs, these observations will be illustrated by a brief study of several case studies.

The case of Palau39

  • 39 Let us recall that Palau is located in an area with high geostrategic stakes (but low tuna stakes) (...)
  • 40 See http://wiki.bluelobby.eu/analyses/shark-studies-pew (Accessed on July 9, 2015).

99The large-scale marine conservation area in Palau’s EEZ originally was the work of several shark protection actors. In the early 2000s, the Palau government banned shark finning inside its EEZ. This State then was the subject of a case study on illegal fishing involving Chinese fishers. In 2008/2009, PEW funded a study undertaken by an Australian university with assistance from a local NGO (in fact backed by a foreign-owned company specialized in diving tourism, notably to observe sharks) (Vianna et al. 2010). Based on an estimation of the number of divers coming to Palau specifically to observe sharks, this study sought to assess the economic weight in 2009 of this shark-observation activity, which was very likely overestimated.40 The results were taken up by public opinion under the slogan, “a live shark earns more than a dead (fished) one”. The successive presidents of Palau (Toribiong and Remengesau) used the results of this study to justify the establishment of a strict shark sanctuary in Palau’s EEZ. Following difficulties in controlling illegal shark fishing, a total ban on fishing within the EEZ, in the form of a large-scale, no-take MPA, was announced in 2014-2015. Only local fishing activities, which cannot export catch, are allowed. Beyond long term environmental benefits hoped for by the government, the policy intends to compensate for the financial loss resulting from the end of fishing permits by developing shark-related ecotourism.

100This strategy nonetheless raises questions regarding the real capacity of shark observation to financially compensate the State, meaning in fiscal resources, for both the loss of fishing permits and the cost of controlling the large-scale, no-take MPA.

101From PEW’s perspective, Palau was not initially an area identified in their no-take MPA programme (Global Ocean Legacy); they only added it in 2015. Palau was listed instead in the Global Shark programme. PEW thus facilitated the emergence of a shark protection dynamic that grew larger than initially foreseen, passing from only sharks to all pelagic fish in accordance with the will of the government of Palau.

The case of Kiribati — Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA)

  • 41 See this organisation’s website for further information, http://www.neaq.org/index.php (Accessed on (...)
  • 42 New England Aquarium carried on the PEW marine fellowship program, thus US$11.07 million between 19 (...)

102In 2012, the government of Kiribati announced the creation of a strictly no-take MPA, named the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), within its EEZ. This decision followed lobbying by Conservation International and the New England Aquarium,41 long-standing PEW partners,42 and an initial commitment by the government of Kiribati in 2008.

  • 43 See http://www.phoenixislands.org/trust.php (Accessed on July 10, 2015).

103The PIPA Conservation Trust associates the two afore-mentioned American charitable trusts (Conservation International and New England Aquarium) with the government of Kiribati and manages this no-take MPA, which is rich in tuna (85,000 tonnes of catch in 2013). The establishment of an MPA led to a drop in fishing permits and the loss of the resources derived from these permits. The absence of compensation for this loss hindered the effective ban on catches as early as 2012. This difficulty was partially resolved with the creation of the PIPA Conservation Trust’s “endowment fund”, a private entity endowed with public and private funds. The long term goal of the trust fund is to reach US$25 million and its dividends will be given to the government of Kiribati under the framework of a “conservation contract”, in other words, only if the government enforces the “no-take” character of the MPA.43 The final agreement is still to be implemented. The government of Kiribati will thus give up its fishing permits on PIPA, a direct budgetary resource it manages with full sovereignty. It must put in place and finance very specific fishing surveillance and it will, in compensation, earn income whose attribution it cannot fully control, and which is provided by public and especially private funds.

104The first officially identified private donor was the “Clinton Global Initiative” in September 2013, which funded the PIPA Conservation Trust’s “endowment fund” through Conservation International in the amount of US$2.5 million, and which called on the government of Kiribati to co-finance, also to the tune of US$2.5 million. This first injection of US$5 million can at best yield US$500,000 in dividends per year, which will not cover the estimated operating costs of the no-take MPA backed by the PIPA Conservation Trust, which will likely be the only beneficiary.

  • 44 See the report entitled, “The state of conservation of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (Kiribati (...)

105In 2015, the Waitt Foundation and OCEANS 5 (initiated by PEW) also pledged US$5 million, with a payment schedule of US$1 million/year, and the Global Environment Fund of the World Bank intervened for the definition of an MPA management plan, which improved the financial situation of PIPA Conservation Trust’s “endowment fund”.44 Ecotourism could be seen as a complementary financial resource like stock market products (through the Global Conservation Fund of Conservation International) or write-offs of public debt for environmental improvements (debt-for-nature swap).

  • 45 See http://depts.washington.edu/mpanews/MPA133.htm#PIPA (Accessed on July 10, 2015).

106Conservation International justifies PIPA’s complete no-take nature through the following argument: “CI [Conservation International] firmly believes that large-scale MPAs have a role to play in ecosystem-based management of pelagic fisheries such as tuna”.45 Within PIPA, tuna catches are essentially taken by purse seiners, with 78% of the 2012 catch consisting of skipjack tuna (moderately exploited), 18% yellowfin tuna (moderately exploited), and less than 4% bluefin tuna (overexploited). They represent 15% of the purse seiner catch in Kiribati’s EEZ.

107In 2014, President Obama also considered the possibility of establishing operational partnerships with PIPA and American no-take MPAs, notably the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.

108Is it sheer chance that Kiribati is situated along the American geostrategic line linking Hawaii to the American Samoa Islands and framing the eastern limits of the tuna heartland? Or that Kiribati is the sole Pacific country with which the European Union has a fisheries agreement (currently being renewed)? Or that the maritime area corresponding to PIPA has an abundance of cobalt-rich marine crusts? Lastly, is it still just an accident that Kiribati hosts a substantial number of reflagged vessels and offers fishing licenses to South Korean fleets (as part of its Vessel Day Scheme, see Allain et al. in this volume)?

The case of the Chagos Archipelago

  • 46 Diplomatic cable # 1156/01 1350700 of the 15th May 2009, from American Embassy of London to Secreta (...)

109The creation of a no-take MPA covering the entire EEZ of the British Indian Ocean Territory (Chagos) is particularly well documented and instructive regarding the opportunist synergies between public and private plays for power.46 The Chagos Archipelago is a highly geostrategic area in relation to the Indian Ocean and the control of Eurasia, but also in relation to the Asia-Pacific pivot, for which it constitutes the western Approach. This area was disputed over by the United Kingdom and Mauritius when the latter became independent in 1968. Since the 1960s, the Chagos Islands have been leased to the USA, which set up a naval air station on the Diego Garcia atoll, and the local inhabitants were expelled from the entire archipelago.

110Diplomatic cables from 2009 (see footnote 46) mention the statements of diplomats regarding the Chagos Archipelago and the following points are interesting:

  • The proposal to create a no-take MPA in the territorial waters of the Chagos Archipelago was made at PEW’s initiative: “The Pew Charitable trust, which has proposed a BIOT [British Indian Ocean Territory] marine reserve, is funding a public relations campaign in support of the idea” (in this regard, PEW worked in partnership with a private foundation, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), notably to produce scientific arguments, and participated in the creation of the Marine Reserves Coalition associating PEW, ZSL, Greenpeace, Marine Conservation Society and Blue Marine Foundation).

  • This creation was timely in the framework of the conflict between the UK government and the Chagossians over the return of the expelled inhabitants, “[Colin] Roberts, (director of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office at the time) opined that the UK’s environmental lobby is far more powerful than the Chagossians’ advocates”.

  • And lastly, no-take conservation was an interesting excuse to prevent this return: “Establishing a marine reserve might, indeed, as the FCO’s Roberts stated, be the most effective long-term way to prevent any of the Chagos Islands’ former inhabitants or their descendants from resettling in the BIOT [British Indian Ocean Territory].”

  • 47 International Court of Justice, 2015. In the matter of the Chagos Marine Protected Area Arbitration (...)

111The decision on 18th March 201547 by the Permanent Court of Arbitration condemned the British government for having created this no-take MPA with the view of using it as an indirect tool to manage the conflict between it and Mauritius, Chagossians, and their descendants.

112This case illustrates the level of lobbying a charitable trust can deploy. One may note that PEW knew perfectly well how to identify and institute a win-win partnership with the United Kingdom and the American government to promote the solution which met its own goals, all the while satisfying other governmental interests (notably those of the United Kingdom).

113This type of win-win partnership with the British government is also at work in the creation of the Pitcairn no-take MPA, as well as in the South Atlantic near the Falkland Islands (the South Georgia and Sandwich Islands), the Tristan Da Cunha archipelago, Ascension Island and the Bermudas off the east coast of the USA. In each of these cases, one can identify potential stakes for the British government, whether geostrategic, in agreement with an allied American strategy, or in conformance with spatial and quantitative oceans protection objectives.

114Should one inquire whether such opportunistic public/private mechanisms also exist for the other large-scale, no-take MPAs promoted by PEW in the Pacific? One point which is certain is that public interests are not always in accord with the private interests of charitable trusts. For the American government, the creation of no-take MPAs can contradict the interests of the long-distance American tuna fleet — some forty purse seiners. This interplay between public and private actors is thus probably very “fluid”, including over time.

Analysis-Conclusion

115The issues at stake in the Pacific revolve around its natural resources and their exploitation, as well as assertions of maritime sovereignty and geostrategic dynamics. The interactions of public actors are strongly influenced and affected by the leadership strategies deployed by the USA and China, whether through official channels or by independent private actors.

116Public powers (the USA and China, but not only them) act and use leadership strategies. Private powers act and use comparable strategies, whether they are economic operators (energy operators, future mining operators, tuna operators, and even tourism operators) or charitable trusts.

117Large-scale MPAs are consequently a tool with strategic and sovereignty dimensions. There are, in addition, the “no-take” dimension, which should be understood as “no-take of highly-migratory pelagic fish” (which includes tuna and sharks), a dimension of spatial control of resources and fleets, and, with the prospect of the growth and extension of Asian activities in the Pacific, a regulatory control and supplementary standards dimension. Environmental conservation action is thus one of the arguments and tools that can be used to assert sovereignty within a much larger set of diplomatic and legal instruments. One can also wonder how much benefit such large-scale no-take MPAs really bring up in comparison with the fishery management through an RFMO.

118The creation of an MPA remains a State process, or, in other words, results from the decision of a government. However, the influence of charitable trusts, and indeed their tactical use of governmental decisions and associated issues to serve their own objectives, should not be ignored. Furthermore, when the interests of a State and the private interests of trusts coincide, de facto public/private partnerships can emerge or even be developed intentionally.

119However, beyond regulatory and financial commitments, what is the actual effectiveness of these partnerships? Has the American government used the pretext of the existence of no-take MPAs to practice armed boardings in the EEZs belonging to States which have delegated their defence to the USA through a Compact of Free Association? To date, the American government has not undertaken any support action. Palau must currently feel quite alone in enforcing the fishing ban within its MPA, which covers its entire EEZ. Environmental conservation may not be an adequate means for a “hard power” style expression of sovereignty. However, American charitable trusts are beginning to promote the effective implementation of fishing bans with high profile campaigns to control IUU activities and the development of monitoring tools for fishing activities. In the approaches to the pivot, the United States government has not decided yet to exercise hard power under the pretext of conservation, but there is room to manoeuvre if it decides to do so in the future. Furthermore, the United States government could in the future extend fishing-related concerns for environmental conservation to other activities, for example, mining. Should the creation of large-scale MPAs in the Pacific be considered as a move to assume a strategic pre-position and indirect control of maritime areas, which will evolve in parallel with diverse issues involving the Pacific?

120The maritime pivot is also a combination of subtle and evolving interplays between hard and soft power and private and public power.

Bibliografia

References

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2011 Étude sur l’état de l’art du rôle des AMPs dans la gestion des pêches. Rapport technique « volet bio-écologie ». Dakar: Commission Sous Régionale des Pêches (CSRP).

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Vianna, Gabriel M. S., Mark G. Meekan, David Pannell, Sally Marsh, and Jessica Meeuwig
2010 Wanted Dead or Alive? The Relative Value of Reef Sharks as a Fishery and an Ecotourism Asset in Palau. Perth: Australian Institute of Marine Science and University of Western Australia.

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2013 Tuna Fishery Yearbook 2012. Noumea, New Caledonia: Pacific Community, Oceanic Fisheries Programme.
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Note

1 Some bibliographic references are available in Leenhardt et al. 2013.

2 The expressions “large”, “wide ranging” and “large-scale” associated with MPAs in this work are equivalents. They refer to MPAs which cover marine surface areas of over 100,000 km² (see Leenhardt et al. 2013).

3 In conformance with the 4 August 1995 adoption of the United Nations agreement on the conservation and management of straddling fish stocks (fish stocks moving within and outside of EEZs) and highly migratory fish stocks (came into force 11 December 2001).

4 See http://www.pnatuna.com/node/278 (Accessed on October 1, 2015).

5 See various NGOs position papers from 2010 to 2014 issued prior to the meetings of the Scientific Committee of the WCPFC.

6 See various propositions of management issued prior to the meetings of the Scientific Committee of the WCPFC.

7 The reflagging strategy is also of interest to the fleets’ countries of origin, which must reduce the size of the fleets under their flags and thereby control their own overfishing capacity.

8 See documents in the folder “NGO Papers” available for each meeting of the Scientific Committee of the WCPFC, http://www.wcpfc.int/meeting-folders/scientific-committee (Accessed on July 10, 2015).

9 See for instance the conflict between Vietnamese fishermen and a Chinese exploration platform in April 2014 in The Diplomat magazine. Many articles can be found, see for example the last one which summarizes all the international sequence: http://thediplomat.com/2014/07/chinas-rig-departure-proves-nothing/. See also section 10, entitled “Actualités en relation avec le conflit Chine Vietnam de juin 2014 + Chine/Philippines avril 2015 (Scarborough Shoal)” in the article “Le pivot maritime Asie Pacifique”, http://atlas.bluelobby.eu/2014/06/le-pivot-maritime-asie-pacifique.html (Accessed on July 9, 2015).

10 Even if its economic growth slows, many factors can influence its consumption profile, such as gas/oil and oil/gas/coal substitutions.

11 http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/12/25/business/economy-business/methane-hydrate-extracted-sea-japan/ (Accessed on July 9, 2015).

12 Nautilus Minerals’ press release on April 24, 2014: “Nautilus Minerals and State of PNG Resolve Issues and Sign Agreement”, http://www.nautilusminerals.com/s/Media-NewsReleases.asp?ReportID=649293&_Type=News-Releases&_Title=Nautilus-Minerals-and-State-of-PNG-Resolve-Issues-and-Sign-Agreement (Accessed on July 9, 2015).

13 See numerous press releases on the website of the company Nautilus Minerals, http://www.nautilusminerals.com/s/Media-NewsReleases.asp (Accessed on July 9, 2015).

14 http://mapserver.isa.org.jm/GIS/ (Accessed on July 9, 2015).

15 Most of the updated bibliographic references of the strategy and leadership section can be consulted on the following website: http://atlas.bluelobby.eu/2014/06/le-pivot-maritime-asie-pacifique.html (Accessed on July 9, 2015).

16 See in particular Global Trends 2030, http://www.dni.gov/index.php/about/organization/globaltrends-2030 (Accessed on July 9, 2015), and the coming Global Trends 2035, http://www.dni.gov/index.php/about/organization/national-intelligence-council-global-trends (Accessed on July 9, 2015), released by the National Intelligence Council, US Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

17 US Department of the Navy, March 2015, “A Cooperative Strategy for XXIst Century Seapower”, http://www.navy.mil/local/maritime/150227-CS21R-Final.pdf (Accessed on July 9, 2015).

18 Spratleys: Johnson South Reef, Mischief Reef. Paracels: Woody Island, Duncan Islands.

19 16 April 2014, “Xinhuanet. Chinese Navy safeguards security of int’l sea lines of communication: white paper”, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2013-04/16/c_132312715.htm (Accessed on July 9, 2015).

20 16 April 2014, “Xinhuanet. Chinese navy intensifies blue water training: white paper”, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2013-04/16/c_132312785.htm (Accessed on July 9, 2015).

21 This issue of South China Sea conflicts is not the main goal of this article. Readers can refer to the updated web page on this subject (in French with various links to English papers at the bottom of the article): http://atlas.bluelobby.eu/2014/06/le-pivot-maritime-asie-pacifique.html (Accessed on July 9, 2015).

22 See http://www.state.gov/e/oes/ocns/fish/bilateral/c33153.htm (Accessed on July 9, 2015).

23 See https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/09/22/fact-sheet-us-global-developmentpolicy (Accessed on July 9, 2015).

24 The expressions “Chinese enterprises”, “Chinese joint venture companies”, and “Chinese-owned companies” refer to three different forms of private economic participation in China. The most generic is “Chinese-owned companies”: these can either be Chinese enterprises, companies owned jointly by China and a friendly country, or foreign companies with some Chinese shareholders.

25 See http://thediplomat.com/2013/10/china-asean-joint-development-overshadowed-by-southchina-sea/ (Accessed on July 9, 2015).

26 A State considers that is has the right to board foreign vessels fishing within maritime space which is under its sovereignty. By defending these spaces, its sovereign rights and associated duties, the State exercises and further strengthens its sovereignty. (See also the section, “The current issues of Pacific tuna economic exploitation”.)

27 See for example the news article entitled, “Chinese Fishermen in Troubled Waters” published in October 2014 in The Diplomat, http://thediplomat.com/2014/10/chinese-fishermen-in-troubled-waters/ (Accessed on July 9, 2015).

28 “Smart power” consists of a combination of “soft power” and “hard power” strategies.

29 On PEW’s website (http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/about/mission-and-values, Accessed on July 10, 2015), the foundation is described in these terms: “The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. We are an independent non-profit organization – the sole beneficiary of seven individual trusts established between 1948 and 1979 by two sons and two daughters of Sun Oil Company founder Joseph N. Pew and his wife, Mary Anderson Pew. […] Today, Pew is a global research and public policy organization, still operated as a non-partisan, nongovernmental organization dedicated to serving the public. Informed by the founders’ interest in research, practical knowledge and a robust democracy, our portfolio has grown over time to include public opinion research; arts and culture; and environmental, health, state and consumer policy initiatives.”

30 On its website (http://www.conservation.org/about/Pages/default.aspx# mission, Accessed on July 10, 2015), Conservation International’s mission is described in these terms:
“For more than 25 years, Conservation International has been protecting nature for the benefit of everyone on Earth. But we’re not a run-of-the-mill environmental organization. We’re more like a human organization. We know that human beings are totally dependent on nature — and that when we work to save nature, we’re really working to save ourselves. CI is 900 people in 30 + countries helping to build a healthier, more prosperous and more productive planet, for you and for everyone.”

31 See http://www.harteresearchinstitute.org/hri-s-panel-of-oil-spill-experts#searle (Accessed on July 10, 2015).

32 See these two organisations’ websites for further information, respectively http://highseasalliance.org/ and http://www.globaloceancommission.org/ (Accessed on July 10, 2015).

33 See http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/projects/global-ocean-legacy (Accessed on July 10, 2015).

34 See this organisation’s website for further information, http://oceans5.org/ (Accessed on July 10, 2015).

35 See the blog “How U.S. nonprofits came to care about fish” by Denis Devine, https://denisdevine.wordpress.com/my-portfolio/environmental-reporting-commentary/how-us-nonprofits-came-to-care-about-fish/ (Accessed on July 10, 2015).

36 See this organisation’s website for further information, http://www.oakfnd.org/ (Accessed on July 10, 2015).

37 See this organisation’s website for further information, http://www.lenfestocean.org/ (Accessed on July 10, 2015).

38 See http://www.iucn.org/about/work/programmes/gpap_home/gpap_quality/gpap_pacategories/ (Accessed on July 10, 2015).

39 Let us recall that Palau is located in an area with high geostrategic stakes (but low tuna stakes) and that the country signed a COFA (Compact of Free Association) with the USA, thereby delegating to the USA the effective control of their EEZ. Nevertheless, to date American naval forces have not carried out significant fisheries control actions in Palau’s territorial waters. Meanwhile, the government of Palau is seeking low-cost solutions for the control of fisheries, such as the use of drones. PEW also announced a new project with Catapult, a British company, based on a satellite-linked vessel monitoring system to ensure surveillance of EEZs where no-take MPAs have been set up on its initiative.

40 See http://wiki.bluelobby.eu/analyses/shark-studies-pew (Accessed on July 9, 2015).

41 See this organisation’s website for further information, http://www.neaq.org/index.php (Accessed on July 10, 2015).

42 New England Aquarium carried on the PEW marine fellowship program, thus US$11.07 million between 1996 and 2002. The PEW director of the conservation unit, Joshua S. Reichert, is a former vice-president of Conservation International which received financial and technical support from PEW between 1990 and 2000. Conservation International received a strong support from the Walton family foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore foundation for marine conservation and MPAs in Indonesia, thus US $ 84 million between 2005 and 2012. Gordon Moore is a member of the board of trustees of Conservation International, and Conservation International operates the Moore Center for Ocean Science.

43 See http://www.phoenixislands.org/trust.php (Accessed on July 10, 2015).

44 See the report entitled, “The state of conservation of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (Kiribati) (N 1325)” dated January 2015, http://whc.unesco.org/document/134952 (Accessed on July 10, 2015).

45 See http://depts.washington.edu/mpanews/MPA133.htm#PIPA (Accessed on July 10, 2015).

46 Diplomatic cable # 1156/01 1350700 of the 15th May 2009, from American Embassy of London to Secretary of State in Washington, “HMG floats proposal for marine reserve covering the Chagos Archipelago (British Indian Ocean Territory)”, http://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09LONDON1156_a.html (Accessed on July 10, 2015).

47 International Court of Justice, 2015. In the matter of the Chagos Marine Protected Area Arbitration, before an arbitral tribunal constituted under annex VII of the UNCLOS between the Republic of Mauritius and the UK of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 18 March 2015, http://www.pca-cpa.org/showfile.asp?fil_id=2899 (Accessed on July 10, 2015).

Indice delle illustrazioni

Titolo Figure 1: Trends in world tuna catches
Legenda WCPO: Western and Central Pacific Ocean; EPO: Eastern Pacific Ocean.Source: WCPFC 2014b
URL http://books.openedition.org/pacific/docannexe/image/432/img-1.jpg
File image/jpeg, 92k
Titolo Figure 2: Main tuna fishing activities
Legenda Source: WCPFC 2013
URL http://books.openedition.org/pacific/docannexe/image/432/img-2.jpg
File image/jpeg, 140k
Titolo Table 1: Estimation of net fishing capacity per Pacific Small Island Developing State (PSIDS) in 2015
Legenda PS: Purse Seiners; LL: Long Liners; FVs: Fishing Vessels.* “foreign-owned” = the assets of the company that owns these FVs are held by foreign (especially Chinese and Taiwanese) interests, whatever the flag of these FVs.Source: WCPFC Record of Fishing Vessels database, https://www.wcpfc.int/​record-fishing-vessel-database (Accessed on December 12, 2015).
URL http://books.openedition.org/pacific/docannexe/image/432/img-3.jpg
File image/jpeg, 200k
Titolo Figure 3: Catches by EEZ (in metric tonnes - mT) in 2012 — mainly purse seine estimates (Indonesia and Philippines not included)
Legenda * Data extracted from national report; LL: Long Liners; PS: Purse Seiners; HS: High Seas.Sources: Data summaries in support of discussion of the Conservation and Management Measures on tropical tunas for the 10th Meeting of the Scientific Committee of the WCPFC.
URL http://books.openedition.org/pacific/docannexe/image/432/img-4.jpg
File image/jpeg, 120k
Titolo Figure 4: Locations and issues of tropical tuna activities in Western and Central Pacific Ocean
URL http://books.openedition.org/pacific/docannexe/image/432/img-5.jpg
File image/jpeg, 240k
Titolo Figure 5: 2013 consumption, self-sufficiency and origins of complementary supply of oil and gas in the Asia-Pacific area
Legenda Self-sufficiency in production/consumption.Source: BP 2014
URL http://books.openedition.org/pacific/docannexe/image/432/img-6.jpg
File image/jpeg, 208k
Titolo Figure 6: Trends 2003-2013 in the origins of the supply of oil and gas for China
Legenda Sources: BP 2004; BP 2014.
URL http://books.openedition.org/pacific/docannexe/image/432/img-7.jpg
File image/jpeg, 80k
Titolo Figure 7: Trends in world rare earth oxide production
Legenda Source: U.S. Geological Survey, http://www.usgs.gov/​ (Accessed on July 9, 2015)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pacific/docannexe/image/432/img-8.jpg
File image/jpeg, 96k
Titolo Figure 8: Location of marine minerals in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean
URL http://books.openedition.org/pacific/docannexe/image/432/img-9.jpg
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Titolo Figure 9: Brief presentation of the main components of the Asia-Pacific maritime pivot.
URL http://books.openedition.org/pacific/docannexe/image/432/img-10.jpg
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Titolo Figure 10: Chinese, US and Russian strategic defence maritime lines on the Asia-Pacific pivot and in the Pacific Ocean
URL http://books.openedition.org/pacific/docannexe/image/432/img-11.jpg
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Titolo Figure 11: Synthesis of current trends underlying the strengthening of the Asia-Pacific marine pivot, both on Chinese and US sides
URL http://books.openedition.org/pacific/docannexe/image/432/img-12.jpg
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Titolo Table 5: Large-scale Marine Protected Areas and shark sanctuaries in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean
Legenda Sources: http://mpatlas.org/​explore/​ (Accessed on July 10, 2015) and various sources including charitable trusts’ documentation
URL http://books.openedition.org/pacific/docannexe/image/432/img-13.jpg
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Autore

Engineer in agronomy specialised in the management and development of maritime fisheries. He has been working for 20 years in the domains of food production for sustainable food security, maritime economic intelligence, and strategy consulting in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, both at national and international levels. His expertise regarding the sustainable development of maritime potentials focuses on capacity-building, the optimisation of formal and informal activities, the creation of tailored methodologies, and the implementation of network approaches. In the domain of strategy, he is interested in public and private plays for power and geopolitical and geostrategic issues. He is also involved in strategic assistance, within and beyond the maritime sector, in the context of enterprises, industries, territories, national policies, and international fora. In parallel with his presentations in scholarly and public contexts, Yan animates the blog http://bluelobby.eu/.

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