Tag Archives: Ecology

A thousand cuts: Greed and politics are destroying some of Asia’s most valuable coral reefs

THE giant clams that lurk in the coral reefs of the South China Sea can live for more than a century and grow more than a metre wide. Their shells are coveted by China’s rich as swanky furnishings or cut into trinkets, such as jewellery. Large specimens can sell for thousands of dollars. The trade […]

Establish a Marine Protected Area in the South China Sea

The Coral Triangle section of the South China Sea is one of the richest marine ecosystems anywhere on Earth. It is recognized as the global center of marine biodiversity and a global priority for conservation. It is also called the “Amazon of the seas.” Today this region is under threat: China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, […]

Science and Politics in the South China Sea

This past summer, a scientific research vessel from the Philippines was crewed and provisioned, ready to set sail to the heart of the South China Sea to survey coral reefs, collect coral, fish, and other samples, and measure rising ocean temperatures. Then the Philippine government called it off—rising geopolitical tensions had scuttled the trip. Scattered […]

China Is Building a New South China Sea Fleet for its Maritime Militia

China is building a new South China Sea fishing fleet for its maritime militia in a move that could intensify regional disputes, an expert told a conference at the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA) Wednesday. China’s maritime militia – one of the more understudied agencies in the exercise of Chinese maritime power – typically uses […]

Beijing’s dredging activities, if verified, could be included in PHL case before int’l tribunal

“We need to verify the location of where these dredging activities are and if any new similar activities have been conducted,” Communications Secretary Herminio B. Coloma Jr. said in a press briefing on Thursday. “If verified, these could be used as additional information that can be included in our petition before the Arbitral Tribunal of […]

Building Islands and Burying Reefs in the South China Sea

Island-building isn’t new. San Francisco built Treasure Island in the 1930s for the Golden Gate International Exposition. Miami’s exclusive Star Island was constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers back in the 1920s. And of course there are more recent examples, such as Dubai’s infamous Palm Islands. Chinese development at the newly reclaimed Fiery Cross […]

China’s maritime actions a ’cause for global concern’

China’s construction of oil rigs and artificial islands in the East Sea were illegal, an international seminar was told in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday. About two hundred Vietnamese and foreign experts from international institutes and universities in the United States, Russia, Japan and the Philippines attended the function. They said China’s actions had […]

UNCLOS Part XII and protecting South China Sea’s marine environment

The Global International Waters Assessment by the United Nations Environment Programme in 2005 identified the South China Sea as a large marine ecosystem with more than 2,500 species of marine fishes and 500 species of reef-building corals. The study also found enormously diverse platform reefs and atolls existing, most notably in the Spratly Islands, which […]

Science Diplomacy a Crucible for South China Sea Disputes

The increasingly loud accusations and declarations from Beijing and Washington over China’s ambitions to reclaim a string of small islands, coral reefs and lagoons show no signs of ending. However, given the number of international stakeholders in the region, the real promise of science for diplomacy may now be at hand in this complex geopolitical […]

China’s Shifting Sands in the Spratlys

Since 2014 China has been constructing features atop seven coral reefs in the disputed Spratly/Nansha Islands of the South China Sea by dredging sand and coral from existing coral reefs. At last count China’s new features total more than 2,000 acres.[1] This activity has produced much commentary.[2] However, none of the commentary addresses all of […]