Creative Commons photo, Flickr user nozoomii.

Here’s an AFP article linking territorial disputes with dwindling fishing stocks, and the Asian fishermen who are willing to fish in disputed territorial waters to harvest the “new kind of gold in Asia”:

“We have gas and oil people involved as well and this is politically the most sensitive issue, but… fishing companies bring a greater risk of incidents or tensions,” Holslag added.

The industry — which is vital in Japan, the region’s key consumer — has the “great potential of becoming a political problem,” he warned.

In both the East and South China Seas, white tuna is the most plentiful, and as Holslag explains, the price per kilo — about 13.50 dollars, five times the average price of the most popular fish in China — makes it “worth the risk”. (Link)

It also appears that the recent incident involving Minjinyu 5179 hasn’t deterred other fishermen from fishing around the disputed isles.

After the arrest by Tokyo of Chinese captain Zhan Qixiong, who was later released, one fisherman told sinovision: “No one said, ‘We won’t go to the Diaoyu anymore.’

“Even Captain Zhan said he would go fishing in the Diaoyus again.”

I also I rather think that Captain Zhan’s next outing at sea will be as skipper of a shiny new PLAN destroyer, but I get his point. I do think however that this problem could quite easily be curbed by a few fishing boats being permanently confiscated. Not even China could create an international incident out of a confiscated fishing boat.

The 21st Century equation: Growing world population + Increasing affluence in developing countries + Dwindling resources + Territorial disputes + Greed = Trouble

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A contributor and editor at the blog War Is Boring, Kyle Mizokami started Japan Security Watch in 2010 to further understand Japan's defenses and security policy.
Kyle Mizokami has 536 post(s) on Japan Security Watch