1st Edition

Naval Constabulary Operations and Fisheries Governance An Integrated Approach for the Australian Maritime Domain

By Sean A. G. Andrews Copyright 2024
    250 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book offers an analysis of naval constabulary operations, in particular Australian fisheries patrols, and challenges the widely accepted Anglo-American school of maritime thought.

    In the Indo-Pacific, fisheries and the activities of fishing boats are of increasing strategic importance in Australia’s region – Australia’s Four Oceans. Issues of overfishing, population growth and climate change are placing growing pressure on fish as a resource, and in doing so are making fisheries more significant, and significant on a strategic as opposed to simply an economic or environmental level. When, combined with the growing use of fishing vessels as para-naval forces, it is clear that the activities of fishing vessels, whether fishing or not fishing, are matters of considerable strategic relevance. This book illuminates contemporary seapower challenges, explains and defines maritime security and examines and refines existing theory to advance a set of new or refined concepts to help frame the on-water activities of constabulary operations -- reducing the possibility of on-water miscalculation between states.

    This book will be of much interest to students and scholars of naval studies and sea power, maritime strategy, maritime security and International Relations.

    1. Introduction: An Elusive Goal

    2. Framing Australia’s Maritime Domain

    3. Fishing Vessels: Policing a Maritime Chameleon

    4. Trends in the Maritime Domain

    5. The Western Ocean

    6. The Eastern Ocean

    7. The Southern Ocean

    8. The Northern Ocean

    9. Conclusion


    Sean A. G. Andrews is a Captain in the Royal Australian Navy. He was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of New South Wales. He was most recently a Fellow at the Changing Character of War Centre, Pembroke College, Oxford University and is now a fellow at the National Security College, Australian National University.

    'Dr Sean Andrews is one of the leading naval and maritime thinkers of our age and he should be listened to.  In this book he rightly identifies that policing, or constabulary operations, one third of Ken Booth’s famous trinity of naval roles – military, diplomatic, and policing – is seldom studied in a serious way. It is a poor relation to the military role, ‘warfighting’ in contemporary parlance, and he aims to set the record straight. This incredibly important truth is that navies and naval power keeps good order at sea, keeps trade flowing, and keeps the so-called rules based international order alive. In this respect, navies are critical to the governance of the oceans and the functioning of the global system.  Readers might initially assume that this is an Australian book for Australians.  It is not.  It uses Australia as a case study but its analysis is as relevant to the Euro-Atlantic, the High North, the Mediterranean and the Gulf as it is to the Indo-Pacific. Naval Constabulary Operations and Fisheries Governance will be a go-to text and is highly recommended.'

    Kevin Rowlands, Head of the Royal Navy Strategic Studies Centre, UK

    'This groundbreaking book by Australian naval Captain and scholar, Dr Sean Andrews, bridges a disciplinary and cultural divide between naval and maritime strategy and maritime security by illuminating the largely unrecognised strategic significance of illegal fishing. The book is a cri de coer over Australia’s indifference to its maritime geography and its undeveloped maritime or oceanic consciousness. It clearly demonstrates the long history of naval constabulary tasks, specifically fisheries operations. Andrews analyses four Royal Australian Navy fisheries enforcement operations over the last century (from 1911 to 2007), covering one from each of Australia’s four ocean regions. His work clearly shows that there is 'a need for a more integrated, cooperative and strategic approach, which may provide policy commonality that enables flexible, affordable and practical options and solutions for challenges in Australia’s maritime domain'. Andrews rightly observes that these operations 'are a practical expression of Australian strategy', but 'have never featured beyond a gesture in the pages of Australian strategy documents'. Until their recent passing, the Royal Australian Navy's leading intellectual lights included Commodore Sam Bateman and Rear Admiral James Goldrick. Andrews takes up the literary cudgel where his intellectual mentors and predecessors left off and brings a fresh perspective. Drawing on his own experiences as a salty practitioner, and a credentialed scholar, with his own PhD in the field, Andrews rigorously considers his well-chosen historical examples with ample and rigorously compiled evidence. This book makes a compelling case that Australia needs to take fisheries issues more seriously.  It demonstrates that illegal fishing is now the number one global maritime security threat in the Indo-Pacific. As Andrews explains, unchecked it can be expected to continue to grow and disrupt vital food sources and fragile ecosystems, and foment tensions between states that will subvert good order at sea and threaten global instability.'

    John Blaxland, Director ANU North America Liaison Office, Washington DC and Professor of International Security & Intelligence Studies, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australia

    ‘Competition for access to, and exploitation of, fish stock is an issue with significant geopolitical repercussions over international order. This book is a masterclass of practice-led reflection on the challenges of Australia’s fast changing fishery landscape and the need to develop new concepts and capabilities to address it. Sean Andrews commands the narrative about the 'strategic fish' and delivers his expertise as a 'tactical admiral’ superbly’.'

    Alessio Patalano, King’s College London, UK 

    'This is an important and timely book for any researchers or analysts interested in Indo-Pacific geopolitics and maritime security. Through a probing and sophisticated analysis of Australia's fisheries governance in its key maritime domains, Dr Andrews provides a compelling account of its approach to maritime and regional security in the Indo-Pacific region more generally. Yet, this is not just a book about Australia - it is about fisheries governance as a growing area of regional and global strategic concern. Dr Andrews provides a novel and illuminating framework for understanding the complex, crucial and under-examined links between oceans governance, sustainability and national security.' 

    Bec Strating, La Trobe University, Australia

     'Dr Sean Andrews is a sailor-scholar with a well-seasoned and balanced grasp of both the operational and intellectual aspects of maritime security. His book is not about the ocean per se, but set upon the ocean, illuminating the geopolitical implications that flow from the widespread blight of illegal fishing in the Indo-Pacific.  Dr Andrews uses illegal fishing as a touchpoint to demonstrate that security issues at sea that fall short of hostilities deserve deeper consideration. He presents a new ‘Four-Oceans’ model to survey the Indo-Pacific maritime domain and in so doing helpfully provides some much-needed definitional clarity to the meaning of ‘maritime security’. This is a substantial first outing from an original thinker, and a valuable lens on one of the Indo-Pacific’s most intractable maritime security threats.'

    Euan Graham, Australian Strategic Policy Institute