Daily report for 19 August 1994
3rd Session of the FSA
The Chair opened the informal Plenary by inviting the delegates toresume their review of the Revised Negotiating Text (RNT).
SECTION VII -- NON-PARTICIPANTS IN SUBREGIONAL OR REGIONALORGANIZATIONS OR ARRANGEMENTS: China suggested that paragraph40 be amended to encourage non-member States to abide by theconservation and management measures that are taken by the regionalarrangement since, under the Vienna Treaty, States are not bound ifthey are not a party. Canada answered that the duty to cooperate inconservation and management measures stemmed from existinginternational customary laws and UNCLOS. Peru added that theChinese amendment would undermine the effectiveness of the draft asit stands.
Norway, supported by Canada and Peru, proposed amendments thatwould reinforce coastal State enforcement against both parties andnon-parties of an eventual convention. Non-parties should beencouraged to adhere to the convention and adopt laws andregulations consistent with its provisions. Parties shouldcooperate in a manner consistent with the convention andinternational law and exchange information on activities of vesselsflying the flag of non-parties that undermine conservation andmanagement measures. The EU, supported by Poland, warned againstextending coastal State enforcement jurisdiction. Canada remindedthe EU that mutual rights must be respected. Japan suggested thatthe phrase "within the framework of the organization" be added forclarification.
On paragraph 43, which deals with the activities that States canundertake to discourage undermining actions of non-members, Panama,supported by Canada and the EU, suggested that the words "inaccordance with international law" be added at the end. Indonesiadisagreed. The EU argued, and Mexico and Korea agreed, that theactions to be taken should be collective. Consequently, the word"individually" should be deleted. Peru, supported by Iceland,disagreed with this suggestion since it would virtually preventcoastal States from taking any action. Argentina agreed andsuggested that if "individually" was deleted, "collectively" shouldalso be taken out. Canada and Poland concurred.
With regard to paragraph 42 on the exchange of information, theRussian Federation proposed that member States exchange informationon the activities of non-parties whose activities undermine themeasures that the organization has taken.
The representative of the Canadian Oceans Caucus reiterated theneed for an international conservation body to oversee and ensureimplementation of legally-binding standards and systems. She alsosuggested that "fishers" and "fisherfolk" be substituted for"fishermen".
SECTION VIII -- DISPUTE SETTLEMENT: The Chair remindeddelegates that the text is designed to expedite aspects of UNCLOS,especially in view of fragile and seasonal fisheries.
The US proposed that the RNT recognize the ability of regionalorganizations or arrangements to adopt procedures for thecompulsory binding dispute resolution, but it should not compelthem to set up such procedures. Many disputes in fisheriesmanagement require speedy resolution. Japan preferred the UNCLOSarbitration process. While Annex 3 is more "thrifty" than UNCLOS,it is technically difficult in comparison.
Uruguay said that while the RNT is acceptable, paragraph 44,requiring all States to cooperate to prevent disputes and settledisputes by negotiation or peaceful means, should be brought intoline with UNCLOS. Paragraph 45 should include a binding andcompulsory procedure. He spoke in support of Japan's proposal thatthe arbitration procedures in paragraph 43 be optional regardingAnnex 3 or UNCLOS. The EU supported the US, but said the RNT shouldnot move beyond the balance of UNCLOS.
Peru agreed with Uruguay, but disagreed with Japan over paragraph50 requiring dispute settlement provisions to be consistent withUNCLOS. Canada said the lack of a compulsory and binding disputesettlement mechanism is a hindrance to solving disputes. TheSolomon Islands, supported by the Cook Islands, said some referenceshould be made to Part XV of UNCLOS, which deals with settlement ofdisputes, and strongly supported the retention of paragraph 50 inthe RNT. Poland accepted the dispute mechanism provisions andendorsed the Japanese proposal. The Russian Federation said themain objective of Section VIII is the quick settlement of disputesby peaceful means.
SECTION IX -- SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS OF DEVELOPING STATES:Mexico spoke of the importance of this section for developingcountries. Balance is needed so the text does not focus solely onthe principle of obligation but meets the requirements of thedeveloping countries for sustainable utilization of theirresources. Indonesia supported Mexico and said that paragraph 54should grant developing countries favorable access to high seasfisheries. The new text should include provisions to enabledeveloping countries to acquire fleets and participate in high seasfishing. Kiribati and other Pacific States said the RNT is nowbalanced and recognizes the sovereign rights of coastal States toexploit and conserve their marine resources, as these are sourcesof protein, employment and foreign exchange earnings. India saidthe precautionary approach developed in Section III.3.B.4 willincur heavy burdens on the developing countries unless there isadequate international assistance from the UN and its specializedagencies.
The EU said it maintained a policy of cooperation in fisheries withdeveloping countries and major resources are devoted to it, butdeveloping countries must fulfill their requirements inconservation and management.
China urged the international community to provide scientific andtechnological support to developing countries to improve thesustainable utilization of sea fisheries and aquaculture. Thailandspoke for an agreed repository to collect data and information,accessible by developing countries.
Sweden suggested an amendment to paragraph 51, calling for new andadditional resources to be provided through the GEF and CSD.
The International Collective in Support of Fishworkers called forinternational monitoring of foreign fleets entering coastal Stateswaters, causing resource and access difficulties for artisanal andtraditional fishers.
SECTION X -- REVIEW OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF CONSERVATION ANDMANAGEMENT MEASURES: The Chair invited comments on paragraphs57 (reporting) and 58 (review conference). The EU, supported byKorea and Sweden, said that the FAO is the organization bestprepared to deal with the reports. The US, supported by NewZealand, said that he would be happy to see annual reporting. Healso stated that a full review of the implementation of theseimportant principles should occur three years from the date ofadoption of this text. Peru said that under paragraph 57, reportsshould be sent to both FAO and the General Assembly, since FAO isonly a technical body and cannot take further action if complianceis lacking. New Zealand said a legally-binding instrument would notobviate the need for a review conference. The Solomon Islands andAustralia supported the RNT as it stands. The Russian Federationsaid that FAO should not have to do all of the work. Canada,supported by Uruguay, Morocco, and Poland, expressed a reservationwith the first sentence of paragraph 57. Sweden favored retentionof reporting to the CSD.
ANNEX 1 -- MINIMUM STANDARD FOR DATA REQUIREMENTS: Japansaid it could agree to the purpose of this text but, supported bythe EU, asked that regional organizations specify the particulardata to collect, since each region has different characteristics.Japan said that for practical purposes, all the information thatwould apply world-wide need not be specified here. The data shouldbe set in terms of standards and examples but not of minima. Brazilsaid that these amendments were too radical and should have beentabled much sooner. Australia, supported by New Zealand, Fiji andthe Federated States of Micronesia, said she understood Japan'sconcerns but thought that the RNT was already flexible enough. Peruconcurred, as did Papua New Guinea, who supported even strongerrequirements.
Japan argued, and Poland, Korea and the EU agreed, that data shouldbe collected both from the high seas and the exclusive zones. Headded that it should also be clear from the beginning of Annex 1that the collection of data will occur within the framework of theregional organizations.
Japan said that the data need not necessarily be reported on avessel-by-vessel basis but may be aggregated for reasons ofconfidentiality. India and Mexico agreed. He also suggested thatparagraph 7, on the information that is available through othermeans, be deleted. Indonesia argued that it should be retained andreinforced so that it does not appear to be so permissive.
With regard to the graphic flow of data contained in paragraph 12,the flow from flag State to coastal State should be through theregional organization that will then, on request, forward theinformation to the coastal States that are party to thearrangement. Norway said that the flow should be through thecoastal States national fisheries administrations, as the increasein joint ventures makes collection difficult. The Chair said thatthe chart merely depicts the flow of data and is based on legalfishing. The flow of data to the coastal States in the absence ofa regional organization still needs to be addressed.
India said that the requirements should be commensurate with thelimited financial resources of developing States.
ANNEX 2 -- GUIDELINES FOR APPLYING PRECAUTIONARY REFERENCEPOINTS: The Chair said that this is an important part of theagreement but that the topic can lend itself to furtherconsultation. The text emanated from the report of the WorkingGroup and needs further clarification. Peru hoped that the nexttext submitted would be a draft convention, but the EU disagreed.India, Indonesia, and the Chair himself admitted that they did notunderstand fully some of the provisions of Annex 2.
JOINT NGO STATEMENT: The Environmental Defense Fund, onbehalf of 16 NGOS, called for a legally-binding agreement withsufficient substance to provide for effective and equitableconservation and management of the stocks on both the high seas andwithin EEZs.
GREENPEACE: Greenpeace asked that additional sections bedrafted on the issues of excess capacity, marine environmentalprotection, the rights of small-scale fishworkers and transparency.
IN THE CORRIDORS
As the Conference mandate to address problems of severe depletionsof straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks entersits final week, some delegates are disappointed at the level offinancial support for the Chair's Voluntary Fund. During 1993 and1994, the Fund received contributions from Canada, Japan and Norwaythat assisted 14 States. Despite the Chair's reminder in hisopening speech that unsustainable fishing practices cannot continueunabated, only Canada has continued to support the Voluntary Fund.Applications of 15 States are pending for this session, indicatingan inadequate appreciation of the problems faced by developingStates.
The EU has not contributed to the Voluntary Fund because ofdifficulties arising from auditing requirements, but has offered toreimburse certain expenses incurred by delegations in the contextof the Lom Convention arrangements.
INFORMAL FAO/US WORKSHOP
The US-hosted informal workshop on the FAO Compliance Agreement,attended by delegates from the Like-Minded core group, distantwater fishing States and developing countries, was held on Mondaymorning. Dr. Krone of the FAO attended. The US supported theagreement and described it as part of the overall mosaic of highseas fisheries conservation and management measures that should betaken in context with UNCLOS and this Conference. The agreementapplies to all living marine species, including anadromous stocksand whales. It establishes specific obligations on flag States,including vessel marking and enforcement action to preventundermining conservation and management measures on the high seas.The agreement leaves unaddressed the standards to be followed foradopting conservation and management measures, the responsibilitiesof non-flag States and trans-shipping issues. The South Pacificgroup said the 24-meter vessel exemption is hard to administer andtrans-shipping was highlighted by developing coastal States as aserious omission. The FAO has received three instruments ofratification and anticipates the agreement's entry into force in1995.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: The informal Plenary will resume today at 11:00 amin Conference Room 2. The Chair is expected to present a revisionof his RNT.