The Chair's text on data exchange focussed on the sharing of data collected by flag States on all fishing operations within the EEZs of coastal States and high seas areas within a region for the same stock. The regular and timely provision of fishery data should be in accordance with the five diagrams on data flow arrangements provided. The paper also mentioned that at the global level and at the regional level where no regional arrangement exists, the FAO is the appropriate body to collect and disseminate data.
Many delegates raised the issue of sovereignty and the obligation of coastal States to provide information. Data exchange is an obligation for all participants and should not prejudice coastal States or high seas fishing States. The different nature of information under and beyond national jurisdiction was mentioned. There was some concern that the data collected could be used to accuse coastal States of having mismanaged their resources. Assurances were given that this information should not interfere with the sovereignty of coastal States and that the primary concern is collecting data that will help in conservation and management. It was also mentioned that data should be exchanged on the basis of reciprocity.
Since UNCLOS Article 63.2 provides that there should be consultations between coastal States and the distant water- fishing nations on areas adjacent to the EEZs, coastal States need to get information on the high seas fisheries. Since the discussion is on two different regimes, sharing of data should be done by both flag States and coastal States. UNCLOS Articles 63.2 and 64 provide for cooperation on the stocks throughout the range. Where there are no regional organizations, the flag State will establish a regional data bank, and relevant data should go to the regional organizations.
An amendment to the Chair's text was proposed. It read: "Without prejudice to its sovereign rights to manage and exploit the fisheries resources within its EEZ, a coastal State should collect relevant data on fishing operation in its EEZ on specific straddling stocks and highly migratory species, as the case may be and as appropriate, and should share them with the relevant regional or subregional fisheries organization or arrangement." One delegate raised the question of how this would relate to the Mediterranean Sea where there are no EEZs. It was suggested that EEZ be replaced with the term "areas of national jurisdiction." Other amendments were suggested to this text, including replacing the words "should" with either "be encouraged to" or "may".
There is also provision in the Chair's paper in the section on data exchange for the regular and timely provision of fishery data in accordance with data flow arrangements within the coastal State EEZs and for high seas fishing operations. Several delegates said they could not accept one of the data flow arrangements suggested by the Chair: Distant Water Fishing Fleets --> Coastal States National Fisheries Administrations --> Regional Fish Organization or Arrangement. Several delegates mentioned an equal sharing of information between fishing States and coastal States.
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