Daily report for 13 July 1993

1st Session of the FSA

NEW ZEALAND: The Minister of Fisheries, Doug Kidd, expressedconcern about the disorder that remains among the world's high seasfishing fleets 11 years after the adoption of the Law of the Sea.He commented that New Zealand's fishing industry receives nosubsidies, incentives or other financial support from the taxpayer.New Zealand's experience with tradeable quotas confirms thatsecurity of access to a resource brings about fundamental changesin the attitude of harvesters towards that resource. The sameprinciple should hold true if applied to fisheries that are notwithin national jurisdiction. He mentioned four main areas to beaddressed: the obligation of conservation, in relation to bothtarget and bycatch species; cooperation in the conservation andmanagement of highly migratory and straddling stocks; theresponsibilities of fishing nations and management organizations toacquire and share data, conduct research and ensure the attainmentof conservation and management objectives; and a definition ofminimum standards to ensure effective compliance with agreedmanagement regimes.

NORWAY: Dag Mjaaland said that the mandate of thoseparticipating in the Conference is to lay the foundation forresponsible and sustainable exploitation of straddling and highlymigratory fish stocks. These stocks can be subject to pressure thatdestroys reproductive capacity and reduces long-term harvestingpotential of the stocks. Excessive fleet size, deficiencies inmonitoring and enforcement, and reflagging are problems that needto be examined. The Conference should formulate detailed principlesconcerning jurisdictional competencies with respect to the twostocks by strengthening the role of coastal States in managementand conservation. He supported others who spoke of cooperation withdeveloping countries. The outcome of the Conference should enhancethe capacity of developing countries to utilize resources undertheir jurisdiction.

UNITED STATES: David Colson, Deputy Assistant Secretary ofState for Oceans and Fisheries Affairs, described the multifacetednature of US interests as both a coastal State and a distant waterfishing State. He urged coastal States and distant fishing Statesto work together to develop effective measures for conservingstraddling stocks in high seas areas. He encouraged theestablishment of strong, regional organizations among the Statesconcerned, capable of managing straddling stocks and highlymigratory species in a way that is consistent with the Law of theSea. Three traditional arguments must be rejected: effectiveenforcement measures would be inconsistent with high seas freedoms;there is not enough scientific evidence to prove that fisheries orstocks should be controlled or reduced; and consensus is requiredbefore decisions can be taken. He also supported greatertransparency in high seas commercial fisheries, greater control byflag States, and multi-species ecosystem- oriented management.

REPUBLIC OF KOREA: Minister Dae-Won Suh offered thefollowing suggestions on topics the Conference may want toconsider: (1) As straddling stocks and highly migratory specieshave different places of occurrence and migratory range, it is noteasy to invent a global framework for a fisheries conservationregime applicable to all parts of the ocean. (2) As the work by theFAO on a flagging agreement as part of the Code of Conduct forResponsible Fishing is being finalized, we should be careful toavoid unnecessary duplication of work on this issue. (3)Over-fishing by the coastal States of the fish stocks occurringwithin their EEZs may often cause greater adverse impacts on livingresources than over-fishing in the adjacent areas of the high seas.(4) Conservation and management of fisheries within the EEZ and itsadjacent areas of the high seas should be based on the "bestscientific evidence available," as stated in Article 119 of the Lawof the Sea Convention.

JAPAN: Matsuhiro Horiguchi stated that Japan hashistorically cooperated in the conservation and management effortspursued by regional bodies. Living marine resources must be usedsustainably, based on the best scientific evidence available, to beshared for future generations and so that depleted stocks can berestored. A fair balance must be maintained between the duties andrights of coastal States and those of fishing States. There shouldbe consistency between measures taken both inside and outside theEEZs. Conservation measures covering all areas of migratoryresources are necessary. He said that it is essential that Statescooperate effectively on scientific research and the handling ofdata on the conservation of living marine resources. Likewise,cooperation among all States must be promoted with respect toglobal issues, such as reflagging, satellite monitoring, andassistance to developing countries. Japan finds it neithernecessary nor appropriate to conclude a legally-binding instrument.

WORLD WILDLIFE FUND: Indrani Lutchman listed a number ofcriteria that should be considered in the development of effectiveapproaches to regional management of fishery resources. Managementshould be conservation-based, and include, inter alia, aclearer definition of Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY), and anevaluation of the environmental impact of new gear before use.Regional bodies, she added, should adopt a common goal of reducingbycatch, and allow for greater transparency and participation bythe general public. The regional management entities need to beheld accountable, possibly to a formal international high seasmanagement authority. Membership in regional management bodiesshould be a requirement for fishing on the high seas, andmanagement decisions by bodies should be legally binding for allmembers. Enforcement measures must be strengthened and mightinclude on-board observers. A fee system might be established,requiring a royalty to harvest. Finally, dispute settlementmechanisms need to be set up before the Law of the Sea Conventionenters into force.

ALASKA MARINE CONSERVATION COUNCIL: Chris Chavasse urgednon-signatory nations to sign, ratify and endorse the UN Conventionon the Law of the Sea, including the enforcement and disputeresolution mechanisms. He recommended and encouraged governments toconsider the following areas requiring recognition, agreement andlegally-binding action: incorporation of a precautionary approachinto all management plans and regulations; conservation, managementand extraction of straddling and highly migratory fish stocksshould be consistent with coastal States' conservation andmanagement regimes; establishment of a Code of Conduct to govern oreliminate vessel re-flagging for marine living resource extractionpurposes; establishment of contaminant monitoring on a permanentbasis; creation of a neutral observer corps to monitor and reporton catches, vessel operating standards and working conditions; andthe establishment of a conservation fund by collecting fees for theextraction of marine living resources on the high seas.

ARGENTINA: Minister of Foreign Affairs Guido di Tella saidthat there should be an effective fishing regime based oninternational cooperation. Coastal States, in conformity with theLaw of the Sea, have a mandate to preserve the seas within theirEEZs. The new regime must adequately contemplate the rights ofcoastal States in accordance with the Law of the Sea and the rightsof developing States to obtain rational benefit from the watersunder their jurisdiction. He supported yesterday's remarks by theChair and Canada.

SOLOMON ISLANDS: Amb. Rex Horoi, spoke on behalf of the 16members of the South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency and highlightedthe problems that these States confront. He noted the experiencegained by these States in negotiating common positions during the1992 Manila Principles on High Seas Fisheries Management.Cooperation in the manner envisaged by existing regional andinternational fisheries commissions has not proved effective in themanagement and conservation of high seas resources. From a SouthPacific perspective, elaboration of flag State responsibility needsto be reaffirmed. He concluded by calling on States to achievetangible results during this session and not treat it as merelypreparation for a longer process.

FIJI: Amb. Ratu Manasa K. Seniloli supported the SolomonIslands' statement and suggested that the Conference should concernitself with the substance and mechanisms of a proposed regime. Fijibelieves that the collection of data on high seas catches isfundamental to understanding fish stocks in and beyond EEZs andwould provide the basis for further investment opportunities.Better fisheries management practices, based on best availablescientific evidence, and a deeper political commitment for allparties involved is needed for stocks to produce the maximumsustainable yield.

POLAND: Dr. Zbigniew Karnicki, Director of the Sea FisheriesInstitute, said that at the time of the Law of the Sea Convention,highly migratory and straddling fish stocks did not seemparticularly important but the situation has clearly changed. Noone knows the exact reason for the collapse of stocks, but Polandhas taken strong measures to remedy the situation. It is importantfor the Conference to address the issue of catch allocation andparticularly historical participation. Even though there are limitsto fishing on the high seas, no additional preference should begranted to coastal States. 95% of fish resources are alreadylocated within EEZs and it would be unfair to grant coastal Statesfurther advantage. Geographically disadvantaged States should begiven priority in the allocation of quotas. The Polish Governmenthas maintained full control over its distant fishing fleet and allvessels are registered and operate under licenses. The Conferenceshould adopt a clear set of principles, acceptable to both coastaland distant water fishing States, within the framework of the Lawof the Sea.

INTER-AMERICAN TROPICAL TUNA COMMISSION: James Joseph saidthat to properly manage tuna and other highly migratory species,one should bear in mind that distant vessels also migrate and thatmarkets are truly international in nature. He called on thecreation of a single agency to manage migratory species worldwide,or at least greater coordination among existing agencies. One ofthe most vital issues that should be addressed is that of bycatch.The Commission has gained experience trying to reduce dolphinmortality. The potential changes within CITES for the listing ofendangered species may further reduce bycatch of non-targetspecies.

FOGO ISLAND COOPERATIVE: Bernadette Dwyer said that the400-year-old Fogo Island communities are facing the same threat:the permanent destruction of northern cod. Since these people havelittle or no professional work skills outside the fishery, theywill face total reliance on government social programs. A temporarytwo-year moratorium on northern cod, to allow stock rebuilding,went into effect in 1992. Current evidence suggests that thenorthern cod stocks are still in decline, and that much of theremaining body of northern cod has migrated into warmer, deeperwater on the shelf of the Grand Banks, outside Canada's EEZ and,thus, is even more vulnerable to uncontrolled fishing. Thetemporary moratorium may have to be extended to the year 2000. Shecalled for a temporary suspension of fishing of all threatenedspecies in the area adjacent to and beyond Canada's EEZ.

OCEANS INSTITUTE OF CANADA: Al Chaddok deplored the rape offisheries by high-tech "aquabusiness". He insisted that the aim ofthis Conference should not be solely to restore stocks to asustainable level, but to bring back the fisheries to the people.Fisheries should not be seen as a source of profit for a fewprivate enterprises, but as a source of food for the people of theworld. He expressed hope that the mistakes of the past would not berepeated and that the need for such a Conference would not ariseagain.


PLENARY: The final day of general debate should beginsometime after 10:00 am. in Conference Room 2. The list of speakersfor the morning includes: D.H. Anderson, Second Legal Adviser,Foreign and Commonwealth Office (United Kingdom); Henrique R.Valle, Head of the Department of Environmental Affairs, Ministry ofExternal Relations (Brazil); Chandra Amerasekare (Sri Lanka); PerWramner, Director-General, National Board of Fisheries (Sweden);Jos‚ Robles (Mexico); P.K. Chisara, Senior Fisheries Officer(United Republic of Tanzania); Stanislav Klementyev, FirstVice-Chairman of State, Commission for Fishing Industry (Ukraine);Henry A.R. Ngongou, Permanent Secretary, Department of MarineResources (Sierra Leone); Rodolfo Jaramillo (Colombia).

The speakers for the afternoon should include: a representative ofTrinidad and Tobago; Gudmundur Eirksson, Legal Advisor, Ministryof Foreign Affairs (Iceland); Muchtar Abdullah, Director Generalfor Fisheries, Department of Agriculture (Indonesia); GustavoGonzalez Cabal, Under-Secretary of Fisheries Resources (Ecuador);a representative from India; Francisco Berguido (Panama); arepresentative from Costa Rica; Mr. Riekstins, Ministry of MaritimeAffairs (Latvia); Renagi Renagi Lohia (Papua New Guinea); JamesGosselin, International Legal Adviser, Ministry of Foreign Affairs(Cook Islands); Humberto Rivero Rosario (Cuba); W. Krone, AssistantDirector-General, Fisheries Department (FAO); Russell Barsh, FourDirections Council; and Geoffrey Laurence, Senior AssistantSecretary for Ocean Sciences and Living Resources,Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (an associated body ofUNESCO).

At the conclusion of Tuesday's session the Chair announced thatbeginning on Thursday the meeting will look at the substantiveissues according to the list in A/CONF.164/10 "A Guide to theissues before the Conference prepared by the Chairman." It isNandan's intention that a detailed discussion will address theissues one-by-one beginning with the nature of conservation andmanagement measures to be established through cooperation. Look forNandan to further clarify his plans today.