Yen Trân defends her thesis entitled 'Trans-boundary Fisheries Management Cooperation in Disputed Maritime Areas - The Case of the South China Sea Disputes' on 4 September. In the dissertation she examines the options for legal cooperation in the maritime area around the South China Sea.
The South China Sea is a semi-enclosed sea, located in the western Pacific Ocean, and is considered one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. However, according to reports, maritime resources in the South China Sea have fallen by 70 to 95% since the 1950s, and coral reefs are under serious human threat. It is estimated that the latter decrease by 16% every 10 years, resulting in a loss of biodiversity and fishing grounds. The declining productivity of fish stocks in the long term calls for cooperation on fisheries management in the South China Sea.
International law on transboundary fisheries management and cooperation is mainly formulated in UNCLOS. This extension of maritime jurisdiction by states still leads to unavoidable maritime and territorial disputes. Hence, there is certainly a need for states to establish appropriate mechanisms to peacefully resolve them as well as to effectively manage them. So far, the South China Sea claimant states have been making efforts to manage the disputes among them, however, these efforts do not seem to prove sufficient. Given the alarming decline of the transboundary fisheries resources, and the intense frequency of fisheries conflicts in the South China Sea, the coastal states, especially the claimants of the South China Sea, are legally required and practically demanded to work together towards an arrangement on fisheries management within disputed maritime areas in the South China Sea. The establishment of such a cooperative arrangement will ultimately contribute to ensuring the peaceful use and sustainable development of the fisheries resources in this region.
In her dissertation, Yen Trân examines the possible options for achieving a fully-fledged provisional cooperation arrangement and suggests elements that are essential for such a scheme for the South China Sea, which corresponds to matters that are often found in practice.