Daily report for 15 August 1994
3rd Session of the FSA
The Chair, Satya Nandan, opened this session of the Conference bysaying that the participants will need to take critical decisionsand show a new kind of global commitment as UNCLOS enters intoforce. At UNCED, States admitted to the failure of theinternational community to manage global fish resources. Part ofthe problem was a lack of cooperation among States. States haveignored the fact that the right to fish is conditional andaccompanied by the duty to manage and conserve the resources forpresent and future generations. This Conference must establishminimum international standards, ensure that the measures taken inthe EEZ and on the high seas are compatible and coherent, ensurethat there is an effective mechanism for compliance and enforcementof those measures, provide for a globally-agreed framework forregional cooperation, and establish compulsory binding disputesettlement mechanism consistent with UNCLOS.
He then presented the program of work for the next two weeks. Briefgeneral comments will be heard on the revised negotiating text. TheConference will then proceed to review the text section by section.Following the first reading, the Chair will undertake informalconsultations on those matters that have been identified as areasthat can be further improved. At the end of the first reading ofthe text, the Conference should address the question of the form ofthe outcome of its deliberations. A revised text should be readyfor consideration at the beginning of the second week of thissession. He then invited delegates to make general statements.
CANADA: The Hon. Brian Tobin, Minister of Fisheries andOceans for Canada, gave five causes of the global fisheries crisis:overcapacity; inadequate scientific information; failure to takeneeded conservation decisions; inadequate enforcement; and anineffective international regime to deal with straddling and highlymigratory fish stocks. Inside 200 miles, the current legal regimegives the authority and the responsibility to the coastal State todeal with these problems. Outside the EEZ, no such regime exists.This session of the Conference should negotiate the means toincorporate arrangements on compatibility, dispute settlement, andhigh seas enforcement into the international regime.
UNITED STATES: Ambassador Larry Snead said the US positionis one of building bridges between the coastal States and thedistant water fishing States and working diligently toward alegally binding treaty. The success of the recent negotiations toconclude the Law of the Sea and the adoption of the FAO's"Flagging" Agreement are positive indicators that the time is rightto move aggressively toward a binding treaty. A binding documentmust have as its objective the long- and short-term sustainable useof resources that recognize the concept of biological unity;consistency with UNCLOS; cooperation between coastal States andflag States; and consistency with the concept of maximumsustainable yield (MSY).
EUROPEAN UNION: J. Almeida Serra said the valid startingpoint has to be effective conservation and rational and responsibleexploitation of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fishstocks. Consistency or compatibility can only be obtained througheffective cooperation among all States, preferably at theappropriate regional or subregional level. The EU is willing toaccept and observe the standards negotiated if they apply equallyto coastal States in their EEZs.
JAPAN: The representative of Japan said that for thisConference to adopt a strategy, it is essential that the frameworkbe acceptable to as many countries as possible. Compatibility isessential, given the biological characteristics of these stocks. Hesaid that Japan opposes a legally binding document.
REPUBLIC OF KOREA: Dr. Choi Young-Jin said that thisConference has been charged with making appropriate recommendationsfor improving the management of high seas resources consistent withUNCLOS. He stated that the Chair's revised negotiating text needsto be more balanced, since it unilaterally favors the coastalStates with regard to the central issues of enforcement,compatibility, and dispute settlement.
AUSTRALIA: Speaking on behalf of the 16 members of the SouthPacific Forum Fishery Agency, Richard Rowe said that the processmust also respect fully the rights of coastal States to conserveand manage fisheries resources within their own EEZs. A cornerstoneof progress must be the elaboration of an effective prescription offlag State responsibility that will include the collection andsharing of fisheries information as set out in Annex 1 of therevised negotiating text.
ARGENTINA: Ernesto Gondra highlighted the great amount ofmoney that his country spends for surveillance and enforcement asa result of illegal entry by flag of convenience vessels. He calledupon flag States to exercise greater control over vessels flyingtheir flag.
UNITED KINGDOM: David Anderson spoke about the small BritishTerritories who manage their own resources under their own laws andare all committed to this process. Several of these Territorieshave experienced problems such as the illegal fishing by foreignvessels in their zones, vessels fishing straddling stocks justbeyond their 200 mile limit, and the establishment of quotas byregional organizations to which they are not party.
POLAND: The representative of Poland said he fully acceptedthe mandate of the Conference. It is important to strengthen andelaborate the cooperation and management measures. He noted thatmany areas under national jurisdiction have severe managementproblems. Management needs to be based on the principle ofbiological unity and the stocks viewed as biological units toensure sustainability of stocks. Three important issues need to beaddressed: compatibility and coherence; enforcement andsurveillance on the high seas; and the settlement of disputesmechanism should be based on UNCLOS.
PERU: Ambassador Alfonso Arias-Schreiber said that anymechanisms developed in the negotiated text should be binding, orcurrent fishing practices will continue. The proposal from Ecuador(A/CONF.164/L.44*) should be taken into account in revising thenegotiating text and in the Convention. Coastal States are notstriving for mandatory measures for distant water fishing States,but there is a need to end unregulated fishing on the borders ofcoastal State EEZs.
INDIA: The representative of India supported the Chair'srevised negotiating text as a useful basis for future work. Thetext has to be biased in favor of the coastal State and theprotection of its rights over marine living resources. A disputesettlement mechanism exists in UNCLOS, and he questioned the wisdomof adopting a separate dispute settlement mechanism in a futuresession of the Conference.
CHINA: The representative of China said that the negotiatingtext is both a good framework and a foundation upon which the workof this session can be based. He highlighted a number of points,including the scope of this Conference, and the fact that regionaland subregional arrangements should be open to all and allow forequal participation. Enforcement measures should be taken incompliance with UNCLOS.
ICELAND: The representative of Iceland said that since ithas taken a long time to convene this Conference, the participantsshould aim for no less than a legally binding and comprehensiveinstrument, which ensures effective management and conservation, isacceptable to all nations, and will be applied equally to all partsof the world and effectively implemented. He added that issues ofmanagement and conservation of stocks within the EEZ need not bediscussed here. As this Conference is based on the results ofUNCED, it is of paramount importance that the conclusion beconsistent with the general principle of sustainable development,including the precautionary approach.
SWEDEN: Ulf Svensson said that the Chair's revisednegotiating text provides a global system based on regionalagreements and arrangements. The basis of a global framework isUNCLOS and a strong commitment to Agenda 21. Details should beworked out regionally. There should be compulsory participation inregional organizations by States fishing on the high seas in theareas of these organizations. Membership of regional organizationsshould be open to all States. Another area for new treaty lawregulation is enforcement to complement the main provisions ofUNCLOS, and binding and compulsory dispute settlement.
URUGUAY: The representative said that this Conference shouldachieve an effective system for conserving highly migratory fishstocks and straddling fish stocks in an ordered way to ensuremaximum production and use. To achieve this goal, concrete normsand rules for assigning specific functions and responsibilities toStates and a dispute mechanism are essential.
FAO: A representative of the FAO said the deliberations ofthe Conference have reached a critical stage in taking importantdecisions about how straddling fish stocks and highly migratoryfish stocks will be conserved and managed in the future. She saidthe FAO is considering and negotiating three initiatives parallelto, but pre-dating, the Conference: the Agreement to PromoteCompliance with International Conservation and Management Measuresby Fish Vessels on the High Seas (the Compliance Agreement); theadoption of a Convention on the establishment of the Indian OceanTuna Commission (IOTC); and the elaboration of an InternationalCode of Conduct for Responsible Fishing (Code of Conduct).
ALASKA MARINE CONSERVATION COUNCIL: Chris Chavasse said thattoxicological impairment of fish stocks occurs all over the planet,affecting the ability of fish to function in biologicallyappropriate ways, and to maintain themselves in the marineenvironment. These issues are not considered in biologicalreference points to assist fishery managers. Such issues should beincorporated into any final document or convention. Issues such asozone depletion and its effects on fish in the long term must beaddressed in this Conference.
WORLDWIDE FUND FOR NATURE: Indrani Lutchman said that theconservation, enforcement and transparency provisions in thecurrent negotiating text should be strengthened. She added that alegally binding document would significantly improve the way thatthe world fisheries are managed and would help ensure thesustainability of fisheries, dependent ecosystems and fishingindustries in the long term. Strong enforceable conservationmeasures should be taken, as well as provisions for effectiveenforcement and compulsory, binding dispute resolution, andmandatory measures to improve transparency. She also called for theadoption of a deadline for completing the negotiations on a treaty,and for the adoption of provisional measures.
GREENPEACE: Matthew Gianni said that coastal States are nowtaking unilateral measures, and tensions among the fleets are onthe rise. To ensure the effective implementation of the fisheriesprovisions of UNCLOS, the Conference must conclude with a legallybinding document that contains sufficient substance, stringentstandards that apply throughout the range of the stocks, andrestrictions of non-selective gear. He also called for greater NGOparticipation and regretted that they had been excluded frominter-sessional meetings.
The Chair answered that NGO presence would be assured even in thesmall informal meetings on a rotating basis, but that privatemeetings might be held where NGOs might be excluded, but theresults of such meetings would be reported in full to the Plenary.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: The Conference will resume at 10:00 am inConference Room 2. Satya Nandan is expected to ask for comments onhis revised negotiating text (A/CONF.164/13/Rev.1) on asection-by-section basis.
IN THE CORRIDORS: A number of delegates are increasinglypromoting the concept of biological unity coined during the Marchtechnical Working Groups. Look for reference to the FAO'sPrecautionary Approach Paper (A/CONF.164/INF/8) and the ReferencePoints for Fisheries Management Paper (A/CONF.164/INF/9). Also,look for another new management concept based on "Marine ProtectedAreas", to be introduced by NGOs during consideration of the Chair's negotiating text.