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COMPATIBILITY AND COHERENCE BETWEEN CONSERVATION MEASURES FOR THE SAME STOCKS

Japan said that neither the practices on the high seas nor the practices of coastal States should be subjected to the other. Specific arrangements must be elaborated by the countries concerned, usually within a regional or subregional organization. This arrangement must be open to all States -- coastal and distant fishing -- through the entire migratory range and habitat of the species. Although it is wise to apply the same measures inside and outside the EEZ, these measures should vary region by region, and specific measures cannot be applied on a global level. Compatibility and coherence require that due regard be given to all interests concerned.

India said that circumstances differ between oceans, regions and subregions. There should be a broad framework of guidelines at the international level that relate to features of all stocks, yet there should also be regional flexibility. A set of international guidelines will strengthen regional or bilateral efforts. Korea stated that he could not avoid the legal arguments as these are the roots of this discussion. He cited Articles 63 (paragraph 2), 117, 118 and 119 of the Law of the Sea Convention and UN publications that discuss the issue of the special rights of coastal States. He said that when a State signs a treaty, exceptions of sovereignty disappear with the acceptance of the treaty's obligations. Nandan responded that he did not want to debate the legal rights of coastal States at this time.

The Philippines said that obligations should be adjusted or delayed to meet the needs of developing States. To illustrate this he described the provisions for developing countries in the Climate Change Convention. Chile stressed the need for a balance between rights and duties. He said that there could be a single regime for certain species. Article 4 in A/CONF.164/L.11 addresses the application of coherence. Coastal States have the duty to provide information, but they must have the cooperation of the distant water fishing States. Document A/CONF.164/L.14 contains a series of elements directed toward the practices of regional organizations, including a consultation mechanism with coastal States. He mentioned the need for an ecosystem approach to manage these species, a competent authority to impose conservation measures, and, if no consensus is reached, a binding system for settlement of disputes.

Argentina said that within the EEZ there are different regimes for the preservation of resources, but outside there is no system at all. Not only do we need coherent systems, but we need a system outside the EEZ. Everyone agrees that we need cooperation and consistency, but what is lacking is political will. He suggested the establishment of a drafting group to outline principles and standards, which should serve as guidelines for regional organizations.

China said that all countries concerned have common and equal responsibilities, obligations and interests; the different status between the high seas and the EEZs should be recognized; and conservation, management and exploitation of these stocks requires all countries to cooperate. Minimum international standards are needed and should be developed by regional organizations. We need to consider measures in the high seas when formulating EEZ regimes and vice versa, as well as the unequal social and economic needs of different countries.

The US said that all international regimes on living marine resources should be consistent with UNCLOS. The sovereign rights of States are fundamental. Often political and economic needs take precedence over ecosystem needs, so we must break new ground, find new solutions and seek consistency between the high seas and coastal zones.

Korea said that as long as coastal States insist they have a special right, we will have a problem. Although high seas overfishing affects EEZs, the opposite also occurs and conservation must take place on both sides. Japan commented that perhaps his earlier intervention was misunderstood. He explained that measures in the EEZs and the high seas must be consistent with one another; data must be provided by coastal States; and even if coastal States do not fish in adjacent areas, they should be consulted.

Australia said that there are competing priorities but there is also a common thread -- long-term sustainability of these resources. Cooperation should be based on EEZ regimes, but should also reflect interdependence. States fishing on the high seas need to respect the rights of coastal States and high seas measures should not place an undue burden on coastal States or on the resources of the EEZ. He supported Chile and Argentina's suggestion that a working group be established to elaborate ways to move from cooperation to practice.

The EC said we must negotiate within the framework of regional organizations, fully subscribe to consistency of measures within EEZs and beyond, respect the rights of all States, and recognize the sovereignty of coastal States. It is also important to look at the stocks on both sides of the 200-mile limit as part of one biological unit. The EC has circulated a paper on these guidelines, A/CONF.164/L.20. He also said that we have to deal with non-contracting parties so they do not undermine conservation measures.

Mexico said there should be a balance of interests between coastal States and distant water fishing States. It is in the interest of coastal States to conserve in the adjacent high seas. Peru said that it is necessary to make conservation and management measures in the EEZs and high seas coherent. She did not agree with statements of those who seek to place the rights of coastal States and distant water fishing States on egalitarian terms. This overlooks the fundamental principles of ecosystems and the economic and social needs of coastal States. It is important to bear in mind that the obligations of the coastal State are different from those of the distant water fishing nations.

Trinidad and Tobago said that the sovereign rights of coastal States include discretionary powers for the allocation of surpluses to other States, and the terms and conditions for conservation and management of the stocks in question. Coastal States must form the nucleus of any body that manages resources in the EEZs.

The Russian Federation said that, in his view, the majority of delegations support the idea of unity of stock throughout the area of habitat and the development of unifying measures for the regulation of stocks. Measures for conservation should include a strategy for long-term stock management with definitions of allowable catch, permissible fishing areas, the amount of fish taken, and measures governing fish to be caught and the type of gear used.

Norway agreed that cohesion and consistency should prevail, but asked on what premises they should be based. He said that the coastal States have the most expertise, experience and interest in dealing with the fisheries in their particular regions. Distant water fishing fleets can move to new grounds if a stock located within the adjacent high seas becomes depleted, but the coastal State has no such alternative. The two sides cannot be given equal footing unless we revert to a pre-UNCLOS situation. Broad guidelines should be set up, based on the EEZ measures and applied to the high seas, so that both are consistent.

Sweden said that the interventions of the US and Russia expressed a good basis for guidelines on compatibility and coherence between the regimes in EEZs and the high seas. He associated himself with the remarks of India on noncompulsory international guidelines at a general and broad level allowing for flexibility at regional and subregional levels. Perhaps the Secretariats of the regional organizations should be situated in coastal States. In the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) session in 1996, we should see how the recommendations of this Conference can be implemented and take further measures at that time. We should take advantage of the CSD High-Level Segment to encourage the political will necessary to implement decisions.

Iceland associated himself with the remarks of Chile, saying that special attention should be given to situations in different regions. He added that the special interests of coastal States and the regimes they have set up must be taken into consideration before a global regime is established.

Poland associated himself with Argentina, on the need for strong political will to reach agreement on cooperation, and with the EC, on defining cooperation to mean negotiation. He agreed with Sweden on the need to strengthen regional organizations. Regional organizations can be the forum in which States negotiate conservation and management regimes for straddling and highly migratory fish stocks.

Canada commented that UNCLOS should be seen as a living document, part of a law that can adapt and be interpreted. He also said that the differences can be bridged if examined from a practical point of view. Coastal States have special rights due to their special geographic situation. The Law of the Sea invites the coastal States to cooperate with regional organizations but not with other States. Nationals of the coastal States suffer from discrimination since, under UNCLOS, they must fish in the adjacent high seas under the same rules as those nationals that fish in the high seas. Distant water fishing fleets are not bound by the same rules. The fact that 95% of the fishing takes place in the EEZ does not help management, as a biological unit should not be divided along jurisdictional limits.

Colombia said that Item VIII of the Chair's text contains the basic elements for the establishment of compatibility and coherence between national and international measures. He supported Mexico's comment on strengthening regional organizations.

The FAO said that regional bodies should be strengthened and cooperation among bodies encouraged. The dormant COFI subcommittee on international organizations connected with fisheries might be a model for an equivalent mechanism for regional organizations to discuss common concerns.

The EC pointed out that some straddling fish stocks may be out of the EEZs, but that this fact must be examined in the biological context, since due to seasonal mobility, a significant part of a stock may be out of the EEZ at some time of the year. Regarding the special status of coastal States based on UNCLOS, the EC did agree with many of the arguments raised, but he did not want to open the legal debate again. Korea abstained from any further legal discussion, but endorsed the EC statement, as did China.

In response to Korea's earlier intervention, New Zealand referred to the same Law of the Sea Office publication on high seas fisheries and UNCLOS to highlight the fact that the rights of coastal States should not be prejudiced.

Indonesia disagreed with the EC's point on the relevance of coastal States' interests and insisted that coastal States have special rights that should take precedence, but with possible exceptions. Argentina expressed regret for the failings of the second Convention on the Law of the Sea and Iceland suggested that the delegates meet in a legal library.

The debate closed with an intervention by the representative of Greenpeace who asked the delegates to bear in mind that consistency should apply not so much to the rights but to the duty of all the States involved to manage and conserve these stocks. With regard to coastal States, he insisted that those rights given special attention should be those of the traditional fisheries and coastal communities dependent on the fisheries.

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