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The Collateral Damage from China's 'Great Wall of Sand' – The Environmental Dimensions of the South China Sea Case

Australian Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 34, pp. 41-52, 2017

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 17/06

13 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2017 Last revised: 11 Sep 2017

Tim Stephens

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: January 16, 2017

Abstract

This contribution to the Australian Year Book of International Law’s agora on the South China Sea case assesses its treatment of fisheries and environmental issues. These matters might seem only second or third order concerns given the sovereignty and security issues also at stake. However, the South China Sea is one of the world’s most ecologically diverse marine bioregions and sustains an array of coral reef systems and highly productive and valuable fisheries. Contrary to popular perceptions access to these fisheries is more central to the disputes between the littoral states of the region than control over oil and gas resources. The arbitral Tribunal’s merits award clearly recognises this and addresses environmental protection and living resource questions in great length and detail.

Keywords: South China Sea, international law, law of the sea, international environmental law

JEL Classification: K10, K30, K33

Suggested Citation

Stephens, Tim, The Collateral Damage from China's 'Great Wall of Sand' – The Environmental Dimensions of the South China Sea Case (January 16, 2017). Australian Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 34, pp. 41-52, 2017; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 17/06. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2900567

Tim Stephens (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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