Identifying predictors of international fisheries conflict

Summary

Marine capture fishery resources are declining, and demand for them is rising. These trends are suspected to incite conflict, but their effects have not been quantitatively examined. We applied a multi-model ensemble approach to a global database of international fishery conflicts between 1974 and 2016 to test the supply-induced scarcity hypothesis (diminishing supplies of fishery resources increase fisheries conflict), the demand-induced scarcity hypothesis (rising demand for fishery resources increases fisheries conflict), and three alternative political and economic hypotheses. While no single indicator was able to fully explain international conflict over fishery resources, we found a positive relationship between increased conflict over fishery resources and higher levels of per capita GDP for the period 1975–1996. For the period 1997–2016, we found evidence supporting the demand-induced scarcity hypothesis, and the notion that an increase in supply of fishery resources is linked to an increase in conflict occurrence. By identifying significant predictors of international fisheries conflict, our analysis provides useful information for policy approaches for conflict anticipation and management.

Information

Link to centre authors: Österblom, Henrik
Publication info: Spijkers, J., Singh, G.G., Wabnitz, C.C.C., Osterblom, H., Cumming, G.S. & Morrison, T.H. 2021. Identifying predictors of international fisheries conflict. Fish and Fisheries 22(4), 834–850.

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