Boom or Bust? The Future of Fish in the South China SeaThe South China Sea is one of the world’s most iconic and productive fishing zones. The Sea’s marine life, fisheries and aquaculture are crucial to coastal inhabitants of the region, and to both food security and the export trade in the countries and territories with shorelines around its vast expanse.
Regrettably, due to decades of overfishing and habitat destruction, the marine ecosystems of the South China Sea have rapidly deteriorated. Marine mega-fauna such as dugongs used to be abundant in Thailand, Malaysia and south China, but nowadays they are rarely found. Marine resources in the South China Sea have been fished down to between five and thirty per cent of their 1950s levels. Significant examples include reef fish such as the humphead wrasse and coral groupers: they are a valuable Chinese delicacy, but their numbers have decreased by almost 100 per cent in some areas in just eight years.
Dr Rashid Sumaila and Dr William Cheung of the University of British Columbia have co-authored a report entitled “Boom or Bust – The Future of Fish in the South China Sea” which outlines the seriousness of the situation and forecasts possible outcomes for the South China Sea in 2045 under different climate change and management scenarios.
It is time for the governments around the region to step up and work together to create a positive future for marine resources throughout the South China Sea.
To learn more, view the report in full here: