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Working paper

The management, governance and control of the world’s oceans have become major policy and research agendas. Nowhere is this more the case than in the Pacific Ocean, the world’s largest ocean. The world wants Oceania like never before. Against a backdrop of renewed geostrategic competition, Pacific-rim powers view the Pacific Ocean as an important ‘domain’ for the maintenance of regional and global order (Ratuva 2017; Medcalfe 2018; Morgan 2018). Furthermore, in a context of global natural resource scarcity and environmental overshoot, remaining oceanic ‘wild spaces’ are increasingly important both for capitalist accumulation and for ecological conservation (Voyer et al. 2018b). Corporations and states have their eyes on rare minerals on the Pacific seabed (Blue Ocean Law and PANG 2016); distant water fishing fleets (having driven fisheries in other waters to catastrophic collapse) are keener than ever to exploit Pacific tuna stocks (Tarai 2016; Aqorau 2016; Tarte 2009); and corporate-friendly conservation organisations are working to set aside large areas of Oceania as ‘protected areas’ and to shape regional governance of maritime spaces (Bennett et al. 2015; Conservation International 2010).

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SGDIA Working Paper No.9