HTML _ 96-56 - Agreements to Promote Fishery Conservation and Management in International Waters
5-Jan-1996; Eugene Buck; 16 p.

Abstract: Declining fish populations threaten an important food source. Natural catastrophes, pollution, habitat destruction, and overfishing contribute to the depletion of fish stocks. Overexploitation of fishery resources often occurs when management allows expanding and increasingly efficient fishing fleets to continue harvesting dwindling supplies. International law acknowledges the right of states to exploit fishery resources in international waters. However, the 1958 Geneva Convention on the High Seas requires that such practices be conducted in consideration of other states' interests, including a basic obligation to cooperate in the conservation and management of living marine resources. However, the absence of formal regulations for fishing in international waters has encouraged states to exploit living marine resources without considering the sustainability of their catch quotas. Cooperative efforts to conserve fishery resources often were circumvented or not enforced. As fish stocks have diminished, the international community has recognized that several issues needed to be addressed. These included the practice of reflagging fishing vessels and the management of straddling and highly migratory fish stocks. The Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas promotes sustainable international fisheries by addressing fishing vessel reflagging. The accountability principles outlined in this Reflagging Agreement are the cornerstones of a further Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 Relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks. This second Agreement creates a framework within which regional arrangements are to be developed to cope with conservation and management concerns, relying on international technological and scientific cooperation. A non-binding Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, developed by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), represents the culmination of these efforts. All of these recently negotiated agreements extend provisions of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to promote better international fishery conservation and management. Through these agreements, the United States has an opportunity to ratify and implement several less-controversial provisions of UNCLOS. The United States has already implemented the Reflagging Agreement through Title I of P.L. 104-43. The Agreement Relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks was signed by the United States on December 4, 1995, and will soon be transmitted to the Senate for advice and consent. [read report]

Topics: Marine

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