Leveraging international fisheries law for maritime security in the anthropocene: addressing conflicts in fisheries

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Maritime security is the backbone of the modern blue economy and blue growth initiatives exemplar of the Anthropocene. While the security of coastal and archipelagic States regarding maritime shipping is safeguarded by the law of the sea regime and other legal frameworks, conflicts in fisheries remain poorly regulated by international law. As technological advances increase anthropogenic pressures in fisheries and the ocean, multilateral cooperation between States, directly or through international organisations, has facilitated economic prosperity while attempting to address sociocultural and environmental concerns arising from multiple uses of the marine space. These generally positive outcomes have largely come at the expense of volatile and often aggressive interactions between diverse groups in the fisheries sector inter-se and between other sectors. From an international law perspective, this chapter provides an appraisal of the existing international fisheries law that addresses conflicts in fisheries that are currently threatening maritime security, the marine environment, fishers’ human rights, and ultimately the socio-economic viability of the fisheries sector. First, we clarify the meaning of such conflicts, and explain their causes and consequences, noting that these conflicts can also be exacerbated by the effects of climate change and have significant detrimental impacts on vulnerable groups within the fisheries sector. We go on to explore how international fisheries law deals with conflict in fisheries, map out applicable approaches to conflict curtailment from this legal domain, and conclude by reiterating the need for further research on other legal regimes that can complement and mutually support international fisheries law, for more effectively addressing fisheries conflict and promoting maritime security in the Anthropocene.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAscomare Yearbook on the Law of the Sea, 2022
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 2 : Fisheries and the Law of the Sea in the Anthropocene Era
EditorsIlaria Vianello, Pierandrea Leucci, Ademuni-Odeke, Adonis Tafangy, Andrea Caligiuri, Daniele Mandrioli, Daud Hassan, Peter Clinton, Marco La Rocca, Chiara Pavesi, Andrea V. Salamino
Place of PublicationSan Dorligo della Valle
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2023


  • international fisheries law
  • maritime security
  • conflicts in fisheries
  • anthropocene


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