ENB:07:30 [Next] . [Previous] . [Contents]


The matter of compatibility and coherence gave rise to dissent and the problem was seen by some as the question of the balance between sovereign rights of the coastal States and the freedom to fish on the high seas. It was agreed that coastal States and distant fishing States have a duty to cooperate to achieve effective management of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks. The extent of this cooperation was unclear and led to a lengthy debate on whether references in the text to "on the high seas" should be deleted. Distant water fishing States wanted this provision taken out because biological unity of the stock is a fact while coastal States saw this proposal as an attempt to impinge on their sovereign rights within their own EEZs. It was also seen as a "re-interpretation of UNCLOS". It was agreed that some of the terms would need to be defined with greater care.

References to the concept of MSY were deemed inappropriate by some who suggested its replacement with the concept of Optimal Sustainable Yield (OSY). The FAO was suggested as an interim institution where no regional organization or arrangement has yet been established.

It was mentioned that the text could be re-organized along the lines of document L.11/Rev.1, a "Draft Convention on the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks on the High Seas", with stronger prescriptive measures and a number of minimum standards that would need to be respected in all circumstances. Some distant water fishing States argued that these would be limited because the measures would need to be adapted to the particularities of each fishery.

A delegate warned against granting too many special rights to developing countries and recommended measures to indicate that special access requires sustainable fishing. The provisions on the collection of data proved controversial. A delegate noted that the FAO document reflects the willingness of the regional organizations to receive appropriate data, but does not express the willingness of fishing States to provide this information.

[Return to start of article]