Daily report for 14 July 1993
1st Session of the FSA
UNITED KINGDOM: David Anderson, Second Legal Adviser,Foreign and Commonwealth Office, spoke on behalf of the UK'sterritories that do not fall under the scope of the EuropeanCommunity. He said that a common starting point is the need forregional cooperation, where appropriate. It will be important toformulate recommendations by way of consensus in accordance withthe rules of procedure. Anything less may perpetuate presentdifficulties.
BRAZIL: Amb. Henrique R. Valle said that the main purpose ofthis Conference is to promote effective implementation of theprovisions of UNCLOS that will lead to the goal of sustainablemanagement and conservation of marine living resources. Brazilbelieves that to be truly effective, comprehensive measures,capable of regulating a crucial activity in the world economy,should be embodied within a legal instrument, constructivelynegotiated by all parties.
SWEDEN: Per Wramner, Director-General, National Board ofFisheries, said that the precautionary principle should be applieduntil scientific knowledge is sufficient. Continued work at theglobal level should be transferred to the Commission on SustainableDevelopment, in close cooperation with FAO. Over-utilization offish stocks does not occur because of shortfalls in UNCLOS, sincemost of the regional bodies were established earlier. TheConference should recommend that funding agencies allocateresources to developing countries and regional bodies for work onthe maintenance of biodiversity within high seas fisheriesmanagement.
SRI LANKA: Chandra Amerasekare said that recommendations ofthe Conference should promote a consensus approach regardingregulations and fishing management practices with respect to highseas fishing. Capacity-building for developing systematic oceanobserving systems for developing countries is important. A legalframework alone is not sufficient to address the problems and findsolutions. Regional intergovernmental organizations can play avital role for assisting member countries in building up capacity.
MEXICO: Jos Robles said that it is important to improve thequality and reliability of fish statistics, collect and providetimely information on activities of high seas vessels, andestablish mechanisms for the settlement of disputes. Any agreementadopted by this Conference should promote new internationalunderstanding that fishing on the high seas is subject toregulation and support a system of responsible fishing.
UKRAINE: Stanislav Klementyev, First Vice-Chairman of State,Commission for Fishing Industry, said the Conference should keep inmind the following guidelines: principles of consensus (regionalinternational fishing organizations will be the most effectiveapproach); principle of scientific justification (decisions can beadopted only in the presence of scientifically reliable data); andthe idea that living marine resources are the property of the wholeof humanity.
TANZANIA: Peter K. Chisara, Senior Fisheries Officer,Ministry of Tourism, Natural Resources and Environment, said thatconservation and management of straddling and highly migratory fishstocks are difficult due to lack of cooperation among States; newtechnological developments that encourage the use of unsustainableexploitation of ocean resources; and lack of commitment tosustainable management on the part of distant fishing fleets.Developed countries should assist developing nations in capacitybuilding.
SIERRA LEONE: Henry Ngongou highlighted the fact that, as aleast developed country, Sierra Leone finds it difficult to facethe additional responsibilities vested under the extension of theEEZ. Distant water fishing vessels do not always abide byregulations set up by the coastal States and they, in turn, arefinancially incapable of containing such violations. Financialassistance should be provided to facilitate collection of data andsupport for surveillance mechanisms. A special fund might becreated to assist LDCs in the management of their fish stocks.
COLOMBIA:. Rodolfo Jaramillo said that the time has come forthe international community to consider a legally-binding regime toavoid further plundering and arbitrary use of natural resources bysome States. Measures of conservation should be applied on thebasis of the most up-to-date scientific information, but not incritical cases where the precautionary principle should be applied.He advocated consistency between the regimes of coastal States andthe high seas and stressed the need to devise dispute settlementmechanisms.
SOUTH PACIFIC FORUM FISHERIES AGENCY: Michael W. Lodge saidthat the major constraint to effective cooperation is the fact thatcooperative research and analysis is based on incomplete data.Unregulated transshipment of in-zone catches on the high seascontributes to increasing pressure on stocks within and beyond EEZsand to unreliability of data. The rapid expansion of driftnetfishing in the South Pacific in the late 1980s bears witness to thespeed with which fishing operations on high seas can threatenregional fisheries resources.
COOK ISLANDS: James Gosselin, International Legal Adviser,Ministry of Foreign Affairs, expressed his support for the commentsmade by the representatives of Solomon Islands and the SouthPacific Forum Fisheries Agency. He insisted on flag Stateresponsibility, the recognition of the specificities of the SouthPacific region and the special needs of developing nations. Hecalled on appropriate restraints in the exercise of freedom to fishon the high seas.
INTERNATIONAL OCEANOGRAPHIC COMMISSION (UNESCO): GeoffreyLaurence, Senior Assistant Secretary for Ocean Sciences and LivingResources, made the following recommendations: consensus managementshould be agreed to by all parties based on the best availableinformation; conservation and management regulations should beimplemented through intergovernmental or regional bodies ofconsenting and complying nations; and the adoption of prudentconservation measures for straddling and highly migratory fishstocks within the framework of UNCLOS and Agenda 21 should beexpedited.
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: The representative from Trinidad andTobago, speaking on behalf of the 12 member States of CARICOM,distinguished the sovereign rights of coastal States within theirEEZs from the right to fish on the high seas. States have a duty tocooperate in the management of the global commons. He called for acollective response by the international community, interalia to use the precautionary principle in specificcircumstances.
INDONESIA: Muchtar Abdullah, Director-General of Fisheries,said that to ensure the sustainable yield of fisheries, they mustendorse the principle of shared responsibility of the internationalcommunity. It is primarily the responsibility of the flag States toensure that their vessels comply with agreed conservation andmanagement rules. Developing countries should receive technicalassistance to meet their responsibilities and to enhance theirability to participate in utilizing fisheries resources on the highseas.
PHILIPPINES: Deputy Permanent Representative Ronald B.Allarey attributed the overexploitation of marine resources to thelack of specific obligations on States fishing on the high seas.Careful consideration must be given to reservations that States mayhave with measures that recommend a code of conduct with regard tofisheries in the EEZs. He emphasized the importance of scientificresearch data as a basis for informed management decisions.
ECUADOR: Gustavo Gonzalez Cabal, Under-Secretary ofFisheries Resources, said that UNCED showed a new direction forinternational relations, and that interdependence was an undeniablefact, especially in the environmental sphere. The new world ordershould be based unequivocally on a legal framework negotiatedwithin the international community. Therefore, the rights andobligations of States could be defined with regard to high seasfishing and a dispute mechanism should be instituted.
INDIA: Amb. M. H. Ansari said a distinction is necessarybetween straddling and highly migratory fish stocks. Coastal Statesof a region should have a controlling authority in thedecision-making of the fisheries organizations of the region. TheConference will achieve its objectives if it can focus on these andrelated issues and generate meaningful discussion.
ICELAND: Amb. Gudmundur Eirksson said that Iceland'sattitude towards high seas fishing was frustrated because effortsto secure internationally-agreed solutions have not beenproductive. This Conference is the last hope for amultilaterally-agreed solution and that the Conference will notupset any balance found in UNCLOS. Iceland, having aligned itselfwith the group of 60 like-minded countries, is seeking a bindinginternational agreement, consistent with UNCLOS, regulating theconservation and management of straddling and highly migratory fishstocks.
COSTA RICA: The representative described the importance offishing for the economies of the majority of coastal developingcountries. It is important that this Conference produce realisticresults, based on the spirit of the Law of the Sea Convention. Itis necessary to establish cooperation mechanisms and laws to governthe conduct of States on these issues.
LATVIA: Normunds Riekstins, from the Ministry of MaritimeAffairs, declared that Latvia has been elaborating a new conceptionof fisheries in order to meet the demands of a free market economy.He expressed concern about possible grants of authority and rightsto coastal States with respect to straddling and highly migratoryfish stocks on the open seas. The matter should not become aquestion of granting political and economic advantage to someStates and reducing the rights of others, but remain focussed onthe preservation of fish stocks.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Amb. Renagi R. Lohia endorsed thestatement of Solomon Islands and said that complementary andfundamentally similar approaches with respect to living marineresources is the only way to reach consensus on commitments at thisConference. He also said that timely and accurate data areconducive to the development of an appropriate conservation andmanagement regime for the high seas, along with financial andtechnical assistance to developing countries.
CUBA: Humberto R. Rosario called for new approaches and newguidelines for the application of international law. The Law of theSea provided the basic measures but remains insufficient in manyareas. It is vital that flag States take measures to correctdeficient practices. Cuba is willing to participate in workinggroups and help bring together the interests of flag States andcoastal States.
KIRIBATI: The representative said that living marineresources play an important role in providing foreign earnings,food, and employment. Future economic development of small islandcountries will undoubtedly depend entirely on marine resources. Thepractice of transshipment at sea should be stopped and observersshould be placed on board the licensed foreign fishing fleets toensure reporting of accurate catch data.
FAO: Dr. W. Krone reported on the concern the FAO has hadregarding the state of high seas fisheries. The FAO has fosteredinternational cooperation, as exemplified by the documentsavailable at this Conference. Many of the FAO recommendations havebecome national policies. The Code of Conduct was elaborated as amatter of priority and aims at including agreed guidelines andrules. The draft document on flagging still contains brackets, butthey should be withdrawn by the end of 1993.
FOUR DIRECTIONS COUNCIL: Russel Barsh said traditionalfisheries are proprietary, very selective, consistent withconserving biodiversity, and labour intensive, while very efficientin terms of physical and financial capital. Industrial fisheriestarget a small number of species and harvest them aggressively. Thelegal treatment of the high seas as a global common has the effectof confiscating the property of coastal communities and giving itto those harvesters who have the largest amount of capital. It ismost rational to focus marine harvesting in coastal areas, reduceor eliminate high seas fishing and make a major effort to restoreand rebuild coastal fisheries.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: This morning's session will begin at 11:00 am inConference Room 2. The Chair announced yesterday that he willcomment on the last three days of general debate and then addressprocedures for the work to come. There is a possibility that Nandanwill propose the establishment of an open-ended "friends of theChair" group of about 20 countries that will assist in thesynthesis of an eventual text.
IN THE CORRIDORS: While the Chair may have recommendedyesterday that Iceland conduct discussions regarding alegally-binding instrument in the corridors, actual drafting of aconvention has been underway for some time. A core group ofcountries, including Canada, Iceland, Chile and Argentina, areco-sponsors of a new document to be released on Friday,A./CONF/164/L.11 "A draft convention on the conservation andmanagement of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fishstocks on the high seas." This paper includes 8 chapters, 25articles and an annex. L.11 should be a more detailed elaborationof A./CONF.164/L.5 (the Canadian letter to the Chair). Look forinformal discussion of advanced versions of this document in thecorridors today. Formal discussion on this document will begin whenthe meeting considers the second issue on Nandan's list inA/CONF.164/10, "The mechanisms for cooperation."