Madam Speaker, I am please to take part in this debate today. I would like to deal with the details of the UN agreement.
First of all, I would like to quote part of the preamble:
Recognizing the need for specific assistance, including financial, scientific and technological assistance, in order that developing States can participate effectively in the conservation, management and sustainable use of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks,
Convinced that an agreement for the implementation of the relevant provisions of the Convention would best serve these purposes and contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security,
Affirming that matters not regulated by the Convention or by this Agreement continue to be governed by the rules and principles of general international law,
Have agreed as follows:
I would also like read the general provisions of article 1, which deals with use of terms and scope.
For the purposes of this Agreement:
(a) The word “Convention” means, of course, the United Nations convention on the law of the sea of 10 December 1982.
It is very important that we know the details of the UN agreement.
(b) The expression “conservation and management measures”, means measures to conserve and manage one or more species of living marine resources that are adopted and applied consistent with the relevant rules of international law as reflected in the Convention and this Agreement.
(c) The term “fish” includes molluscs and crustaceans except those belonging to sedentary species as defined in article 77 of the Convention.
(d) The term “arrangement” means a co-operative mechanism established in accordance with the Convention and this Agreement by two or more States for the purpose, inter alia, of establishing conservation and management measures in a subregion or region for one or more straddling fish stocks or highly migratory fish stocks.
- (a) The term “States Parties” means States which have consented to be bound by this Agreement and for which the Agreement is in force.
(b) This Agreement applies mutatis mutandis to:
(i) any entity referred to in article 305, paragraph 1 (c), (d) and (e), of the Convention and
(ii) subject to article 47, to any entity referred to as an “international organization” in Annex IX, article 1, of the Convention which becomes a Party to this Agreement. To that extent “States Parties” refers to those entities.
- This Agreement applies mutatis mutandis to other fishing entities whose vessels fish on the high seas.
Article 2 reads, and I quote:
- The objective of this Agreement is to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks through effective implementation of the relevant provisions of the Convention.
Article 3 deals with the application and reads:
Unless otherwise provided, this Agreement applies to the conservation and management of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks beyond areas under national jurisdiction, except that articles 6 and 7 apply also to the conservation and management of such stocks within areas under national jurisdiction, subject to the different legal regimes that apply within areas under national jurisdiction and in areas beyond national jurisdiction as provided for in the Convention.
In the exercise of its sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring and exploiting, conserving and managing straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks within areas under national jurisdiction, the coastal State shall apply mutatis mutandis the general principles enumerated in article 5.
States shall give due consideration to the respective capacities of developing States to apply articles 5, 6 and 7 within areas under national jurisdiction and their need for assistance as provided for in this Agreement. To this end, Part VII applies mutatis mutandis in respect of areas under national jurisdiction.
And I continue:
Nothing in this Agreement shall prejudice the rights, jurisdiction and duties of States under the Convention. This Agreement shall be interpreted and applied in the context of and in a manner consistent with the Convention.
Now, moving on to the second part:
Part II. Conservation and management of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks.
Article 5. General principles
In order to conserve and manage straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks, coastal States and States fishing on the high seas shall, in giving effect to their duty to co-operate in accordance with the Convention:
(a) adopt measures to ensure long-term sustainability of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks and promote the objective of their optimum utilization;
(b) ensure that such measures are based on the best scientific evidence available and are designed to maintain or restore stocks at levels capable of producing maximum sustainable yield, as qualified by relevant environmental and economic factors, including the special requirements of developing States, and taking into account fishing patterns, the interdependence of stocks and any generally recommended international minimum standards—
The agreement is intended to assess the impacts of fishing, other human activities and environmental factors on target stocks and species belonging to the same ecosystem or associated with or dependent upon the target stocks.
Article 5 (e) reads as follows:
(e) Adopt, where necessary, conservation and management measures for species belonging to the same ecosystem or associated with or dependent upon the target stocks, with a view to maintaining or restoring populations of such species above levels at which their reproduction may become seriously threatened;
Article 5 (f) concerns pollution and reads as follows:
(f) minimize pollution, waste, discards, catch by lost or abandoned gear, catch of non-target species, both fish and non-fish species, —and impacts on associated or dependent species, in particular endangered species, through measures including, to the extent practicable, the development and use of selective, environmentally safe and cost-effective fishing gear and techniques;
Articles 5 (g) to (l) read as follows:
(g) protect biodiversity in the marine environment;
(h) take measures to prevent or eliminate overfishing and excess fishing capacity and to ensure that levels of fishing effort do not exceed those commensurate with the sustainable use of fishery resources;
(i) take into account the interests of artisanal and subsistence fishers;
(j) collect and share, in a timely manner, complete and accurate data concerning fishing activities on, inter alia, vessel position, catch of target and non-target species and fishing effort, as set out in Annex I, as well as information from national and international research programmes;
(k) promote and conduct scientific research and develop appropriate technologies in support of fishery conservation and management; and
(l) implement and enforce conservation and management measures through effective monitoring, control and surveillance.
Next comes application of the precautionary approach.
States shall apply the precautionary approach widely to conservation, management and exploitation of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks in order to protect the living marine resources and preserve the marine environment.
States shall be more cautious when information is uncertain, unreliable or inadequate. The absence of adequate scientific information shall not be used as a reason for postponing or failing to take conservation and management measures.
The agreement also states, at article 6, paragraph 3, which deals with implementing the precautionary approach:
- In implementing the precautionary approach, States shall:
(a) improve decision-making for fishery resource conservation and management by obtaining and sharing the best scientific information available and implementing improved techniques for dealing with risk and uncertainty;
(b) apply the guidelines set out in Annex II and determine, on the basis of the best scientific information available, stock-specific reference points and the action to be taken if they are exceeded, of course;
(c) take into account, inter alia, uncertainties relating to the size and productivity of the stocks, reference points, stock condition in relation to such reference points, levels and distribution of fishing mortality and the impact of fishing activities on non-target and associated or dependent species, as well as existing and predicted oceanic, environmental and socio-economic conditions; and
(d) develop data collection and research programmes to assess the impact of fishing on non-target and associated or dependent species and their environment, and adopt plans which are necessary to ensure the conservation of such species and to protect habitats of special concern.
States shall take measures to ensure that, when reference points are approached, they will not be exceeded. In the event that they are exceeded, States shall, without delay, take the action determined under paragraph 3 (b) to restore the stocks.
Where the status of target stocks or non-target or associated or dependent species is of concern, States shall subject such stocks and species to enhanced monitoring in order to review their status and the efficacy of conservation and management measures. They shall revise those measures regularly in the light of new information.
For new or exploratory fisheries, States shall adopt as soon as possible cautious conservation and management measures, including, inter alia, catch limits and effort limits. Such measures shall remain in force until there are sufficient data to allow assessment of the impact of the fisheries on the long-term sustainability of the stocks;
Therefore, if a natural phenomenon has significant detrimental effects on the status of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks, states must adopt, as soon as possible, conservation and management measures so that fishing activities do not make these detrimental effects even worse.
That is what I had to say on this subject.