The fisheries sector has gradually become a central geopolitical issue in the Indo-Pacific. Out of the 84.4m tonnes of fish caught in seas across the world in 2018, around 61.4m tonnes came from the Indian and Pacific oceans. Although the intensity of fishing varies across regions, the depletion of fishery resources is a growing problem everywhere. China, which catches more fish than any other nation, vastly contributes to this problem with not only its fleet size and the tonnage of its catches, but also its fishing practices – which include illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing – and, above all, a fisheries policy that exports its environmental problems and thereby protects its own national marine areas. Moreover, China instrumentalises fishing to serve its revisionist agenda and its strategic interests more broadly, signalling its willingness to use traditional economic activities for geopolitical gain.
Fish and ships: Chinese fishing and Europe’s Indo-Pacific strategy – European Council on Foreign Relations (ecfr.eu)