Warning of new scramble for resources of the seas – Fishupdate.com

Warning of new scramble for resources of the seas Published:  21 July, 2010

THE next decade is likely to see a new scramble for the resources of the sea, including fish, Chris Parry, chairman of the Marine Management Organisation has warned.

He made his prediction in an article for the Royal United Services Institute’s journal Defence Systems. Mr Parry, a former Royal Navy Officer,  who took over the new MMO (formerly the Marine and Fisheries Agency ) in April, says  that on  the high seas, states may well  extend their jurisdictions and claims into areas once recognised as international waters. As a result, disputes over adjacent, historic or emerging claims are increasingly possible. A  rapidly rising  global population would also be matched by a similar demand for fish protein.

There  were also were a;so clear  risks from threats such as  illegal fishing, piracy, terrorism, assertive states and unforeseen ecological issues.

Mr Parry writes: “Over the next ten years, states will increasingly seek to exploit, regulate and control development in their littoral regions as mankind moves offshore. Simultaneously, the next decade will witness a ‘scramble’ for the sea, competition for oceanic resources and the political and economic colonisation of vast tracts of what have, until recently, been considered international waters.

“Unfortunately, peace at sea does not keep itself and, within living memory, that peace has largely been kept by those states and institutions that have had an inherent political and economic interest in maintaining order and discipline at sea for their own benefit and that of the international community. With new conditions and pressures emerging at sea, and new geo-political alignments, we will be facing an environment that will hardly relate to what is understood or practised today, and new international conventions and arbitration techniques will be required to prevent conflict and preserve the international system.”

He said innovation, fresh thinking and novel applications will be needed to deal not only with the consequences of new patterns of cooperation and competition at sea, but also with the increasingly compelling requirement for sustainable development in the maritime environment.