Dr. Shui-Kai Chang and Dr. Nien-Tsu Alfred Hu et al., "A step forward to the joint management of the South China Sea fisheries resources: Joint works on catches, management measures and conservation issues", (Marine Policy, Vol. 116, pp.1-13)
Degradation of the fishery resources in the SCS has been frequently reported, and calls for international cooperation through establishing an international or multilateral fisheries management organization were frequently made in recent years. However, little progress has been observed in this regard and most resources in the region are not subject to any regional cooperative management, mainly due to the disputes of sovereign rights on the SCS. In order to bypass such disputes and take a practical step forward towards reaching the goal of joint management for the SCS fisheries, a ‘bottom-up approach’ was undertaken through holding a “SCS Fisheries Resources and Management Workshop” in 2017 which is a non-political, depoliticized and non-State driven forum with key SCS fishing actors providing and exchanging substantive information on their individual fisheries for building up mutual understanding and confidence as the first step for further collaboration on the management of SCS fisheries resources. Based on information from the Workshop and substantial joint works afterwards, for the first time, this study have successfully compiled and presented basic information on (1) the fisheries statistics from key fishing actors of the region, (2) the management measures implemented by each fishing actor, and (3) subjective evaluations from managers/scientists of the key fishing actors through a questionnaire study on the causes of the stock depletion and/or the key issues that should be addressed for any potential stock recovery. Several statistical issues have been identified, and a further review of the existing statistical systems of the participating parties was recommended as an important topic for future meetings. Communication and mutual understanding of the management measures designed for and implemented in the region are considered crucial for the future construction of any regional collaborative management scheme. High priority issues that were emphasized by the respondents of the questionnaire study include insufficient control on fishing capacity and fishing efforts as well as weak law enforcement; which may relate to the issues of insufficient enforcement resources, low policy priority and institutional weakness.