Contrary to the view that the South China Sea disputes are driven by a regional hunger for seabed energy resources, the real and immediate prizes at stake are the region’s fisheries and marine environments that support them.
It is also through the fisheries dimensions to the conflict that the repercussions of the recent ruling of the arbitration tribunal in the Philippines-China case are likely to be most acutely felt.
It seems that oil is sexier than fish, or at least the lure of seabed energy resources has a more powerful motivating effect on policymakers, commentators and the media alike. However, the resources really at stake are the fisheries of the South China Sea and the marine environment that sustains them.
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