This menu organises news, documents, projects, profiles and links into key topics, and the menu along the top divides the contents of the site by type.
African Union / New Partnership for Africa's Development
EU Action Plan
EU Common Fisheries Policy
FAO / UN High Seas Processes
High Seas Task Force
Southern African Development Community (SADC)
US Lacey Act
18th Apr 13Managed by Chatham House
Financed by DEFRA
May review of Fish Stocks Agreement to stress participation, implementation in order to reverse decline of fish stocks
New York (UN Office of Legal Affairs) - Countries on Friday stressed that greater political will was needed to properly manage and conserve the world's overstressed fisheries as they concluded a five-day preparatory meeting for a conference in May on the 1995 landmark fisheries treaty.
The Review Conference of the 1995 Agreement for the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, which will be held at the United Nations from 22 to 26 May, will assess how effectively countries have implemented the Agreement and, if necessary, propose ways to strengthen its implementation.
With three quarters of the world's fisheries in distress and nearing depletion, there is urgency in addressing the situation on the high seas.
'Participants at this meeting are looking forward to a rigorous review of this Agreement', said David Balton ( United States ), who chaired the preparatory talks. 'We expect that in May there will be an in-depth assessment of the treaty's adequacy and effectiveness, and in light of that assessment, we expect that there will be new ideas for strengthening the Agreement.'
Countries agreed on a set of elements to assess the quality of the implementation of the Agreement so far that include, among other things, the extent to which States parties have adopted measures to prevent and eliminate overfishing and excess fishing capacity; to protect marine biodiversity from adverse effects of fishing operations; to ensure sustainability of fish stocks based on the best scientific evidence available and the 'precautionary approach'; and to cooperate on fisheries that are not regulated by a regional fisheries management organization or agreement.
Other elements cover mechanisms for international cooperation; fishing activities of States parties that are not members of regional fisheries management organizations and arrangements; monitoring, control and surveillance; compliance and enforcement; and special needs of developing States.
Countries agreed on the need to bring more States into the Agreement, which currently has 57 parties. Two provisions have prevented ratification by several States. One, dealing with subregional and regional cooperation in enforcement, allows a State party to inspect fishing vessels flying the flag of another State party in high seas areas covered by a regional fisheries management organization, in order to ensure compliance with the conservation and management measures established by that organization. The other prescribes compatible conservation and management measures in areas under the national jurisdiction of coastal States and in the adjacent high seas areas, in order to ensure conservation and management of straddling and highly migratory fish stocks in their entirety.
Participants also agreed on a provisional agenda, draft organization of work and discussed possible outputs of the Conference and examined possible future actions, including future Review Conferences and formalized States parties' meetings. In addition, States parties agreed on draft rules of procedure for the Review Conference.
'We had a good preparatory meeting', Mr. Balton said. 'Not only did we resolve the administrative and procedural issues, but participants will leave with a much better idea of where everybody stands. In a way, the Review Conference has already started.'
The meeting was attended by representatives of the main regional fisheries management organizations, as well as civil society organizations such as the World Conservation Union, Greenpeace, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the World Wide Fund for Nature.
Duncan Currie, the observer from Greenpeace, warned that 'the continued prevalence of illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing highlights the lack of adequate management and control of activities on the high seas', adding that interim measures to stop destructive fishing practices must be taken while negotiations continue.
The Fish Stock Agreement covers highly migratory species that regularly travel long distances through both the high seas and areas under national jurisdiction. Examples include tuna, swordfish and oceanic sharks. It also covers straddling stocks, stocks that occur both within the Exclusive Economic Zones -- up to 200 nautical miles offshore -- where coastal States have sovereign rights for the conservation and management of marine living resources, and in areas beyond and adjacent to the Zones. Examples include cod, halibut, pollock, jack mackerel and squid.
The 57 parties to the treaty are: Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Denmark, European Community, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guinea, Iceland, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Kiribati, Liberia, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Monaco, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Senegal, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Tonga, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States and Uruguay.
For more information contact:
Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea: Tel. +1-212-963-3962;
Click here for the website.
Political processes/FAO / UN High Seas Processes
Central America/Costa Rica
Eastern Europe and North Asia/Russian Federation
Eastern Europe and North Asia/Ukraine
Oceania/Other Pacific Islands
Oceania/Papua New Guinea
South Asia/Sri Lanka