China's claim on traditional fishing grounds located in the South China Sea

Intan Novia Putri, Dina Sunyowati, Enny Narwati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) has strongly protested Indonesian fishing in the South China Sea, stating that it considered these waters to be a traditional Chinese fishing area. In fact, however, the area in question is within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Indonesia. This study aims to determine whether the determination of the boundaries of that EEZ was in accordance with the rights and obligations of Indonesia. The research method used was a normative law research, applying statutory and conceptual approaches. This article determines that a State's right within its EEZ is a sovereign right and that the claims of the traditional fishing ground of the South China Sea is not justifiable, from the perspective of international maritime law. The term “traditional fishing ground” is not used in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The determination of fishing rights in a country's territorial waters or EEZ should be based on license by the State that has declared the EEZ. This analysis concludes that China's claims to the South China Sea as a traditional fishing ground has no legal basis. It also states that where a coastal country's EEZ includes a sea border with another country, the two should negotiate a bilateral agreement in accordance with applicable international law and make a commitment to mutual understanding and cooperation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-250
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Policy and Law
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • EEZ
  • Traditional fishing ground
  • Traditional fishing rights


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