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Thayer South China Sea: China’s Floating Factory Makes a Debut

Thayer South China Sea: China’s Floating Factory Makes a Debut

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Published by Carlyle Alan Thayer
An analysis of the impact of China's mega seafood processing ship, Hainan Baosha 001, on the fish stock and marine environment in the South China Sea and China's obligations under international law.
An analysis of the impact of China's mega seafood processing ship, Hainan Baosha 001, on the fish stock and marine environment in the South China Sea and China's obligations under international law.

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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: Carlyle Alan Thayer on Jul 07, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/13/2014

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Background Briefing:
South China Sea: China’s
Floating Factory Makes a DebutCarlyle A. ThayerJuly 4, 2012
[client name deleted]1) China launched the "floating factory" to SCS in May this year. Said to be able toprocess up to 2,100 tons of seafood a day, how could this ship change the fishingpatterns in the SCS? Will it accelerate the depletion of living marine resources inseveral waters of SCS?ANSWER: The
Hainan Baosha 001
 
is China’s largest sea processing ship and
only oneof four such mega-processing ships in the world. Fishing stocks have been depletedin Chinese waters so the
Hainan Baoshi 001
and its escorts have been deployed todeeper waters in the East Sea. The ship will support over 300 Chinese boats that will
fish in the area surrounding the mother ship. Since China’s annual fishing ban covers
the sea north of twelve degrees north latitude, this means that the
Hainan Baosha001
will operate in waters surrounding the Spratly Islands. Vietnamese and Filipinofishermen cannot hope to compete because the
Hainan Baosha 001
can stay onstation for nine months and support up to 500 Chinese fishing vessels. The methodsused by China could result in the extinction of certain fish stock and permanentalteration of the marine environment.
 
2) With such a huge capacity, the ship and its escorting fleet may violate UNCLOSprovisions that require the coastal states to restrain from over-exploiting marineresources? That may also deprive other claimants' right to joint-exploitation inoverlapping waters?ANSWER: Yes, there is great concern that the
Hainan Baosha 001
will deplete thefish stock on which Vietnam and the Philippines are dependent. This is in violation of UNCLOS. Under Articles 61 and 62, China has an obligation not to overexploit livingsea resources but to conserve them. Under Article 123, China has a furtherobligation as a state bordering on the South China Sea to cooperate with Vietnamand the Philippines in the management, conservation, exploration and exploitationof living resources in the East Sea. In maritime areas where claims overlap all partieshave an obligation to show mutual restraint and cooperate.Further, under the provisions of UNCLOS Articles 74.3 and 83.3, China, Vietnam andthe Philippines a
re obligated to negotiate in good faith “provisional arrangements of a practical nature” and refrain from unilateral actions that could result in permanent
Thayer Consultancy
ABN # 65 648 097 123

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