Knowing the patterns of marine resource exploitation and seafood trade may help countries to design their future strategic plans and development policies. To fully understand these patterns, it is necessary to identify where the benefits accumulate, how balanced the arrangements are, and how the pattern is evolving over time. Here the flow of global seafood was traced from locations of capture or production to their countries of consumption using novel approaches and databases. Results indicate an increasing dominance of Asian fleets by the volume of catch from the 1950s to the 2010s, including fishing in the high seas. The majority of landings were by high-income countries’ fishing fleets in their own waters in the 1950s but this pattern was greatly altered by the 2010s, with more equality in landings volume and value by fleets representing different income levels. Results also show that the higher the income of a country, the more valuable seafood it imports compared to its exports and vice versa. In theory, this implies that the lower income countries are exporting high value seafood in part to achieve the broader goal of ending poverty, while achieving the food security goal by retaining and importing lower value seafood. In the context of access arrangements between developed and developing countries, the results allow insights into the consequences of these shifting sources of income may have for goals such as poverty reduction and food security.
The ultimate goal of this contribution is to formulate fish trade policy recommendations that can be deployed to help achieve the relevant Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations (SDGs). Even though all the 17 SDGs are relevant to the issues addressed in this contribution, I will focus on SDG14: Life under the water, and also SDG 1: (No poverty); 2: (Zero hunger); 3: (Gender equality); 4: (Reduced inequality); and 12: (Responsible consumption and production). Before I get to the recommendations, I will review the literature on the relationship between fish trade and sustainable fisheries; and discuss the potential promise (pros) and perils (costs) of fish trade. Policy recommendations for using fish trade to support the SDGs are provided under different headings that capture the main concerns highlighted in the literature when it comes to ensuring the sustainability of fisheries in general and those related to the impact of trade on fisheries sustainability in particular. The policy measures presented in this chapter have the potential to help ensure that trade in fish and fish products would support the implementation of the SDGs.
Asia’s oceans are home to some of the richest and most diverse fisheries in the world and the South China Sea (SCS) is no exception. Its fish resources are crucial for food security, supporting coastal livelihoods and export trade, yet they are threatened by pollution, coastal habitat modification and excessive and destructive fishing practices. In 2015 the University of British Columbia Fisheries Economic Research Unit and Changing Ocean Research Unit undertook to outline the threats to the SCS and determine what its marine ecosystems, fisheries and seafood supply may look like in the next 30 years under different climate change and management scenarios.