Evaluating the Importance of Fisheries to US Security and the Opportunities for Strategic Investments in Aquaculture to Strengthen the US Position in Competition with China
Haerer, Ryan Keith
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How important are fisheries to the most important strategic risks for the United States? Can a broader thinking about what should constitute food security allow the US to invest strategically in aquaculture while enhancing its position in geostrategic competition with China? I find in this study that the US does have opportunities to help some other strategically important countries address shortfalls they might experience if wild-capture fisheries were to collapse. That can help their food security and the US’ national security simultaneously by helping keep countries stable. But I also find that the US is significantly lagging behind China’s global aquaculture leadership, and that US actions to catch up would need drastic levels of infrastructure funding. I identify that the Chinese aquaculture industry is so far advanced relative to other countries that they would control nearly half of the world market for fish by 2035 should capture fisheries collapse. I also find that numerous countries of strategic importance to either the US, China, or to both, are very reliant on fisheries compared with the global average. The research identifies that an absence of strategic action by the US will ensure that China’s aquaculture advantage will allow it to be the key global provider of a critical resource demanded by many countries of interest to the two countries, granting Beijing extreme leverage in food security over those countries and an improvement in the security competition with the US.