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MORNING INFORMAL PLENARY

Once again the question of the consistency of conservation measures taken on the high seas and within the EEZs pitched distant water fishing States against coastal States. It was suggested that either the reference to the "high seas" be deleted or a provision be added referring to the measures taken "within the EEZ of the coastal States". Some coastal States expressed their displeasure at hearing a point discussed on Monday being raised again. It was also noted that UNCED provisions refer expressly to high seas fisheries. A delegate reminded the Conference that UNCLOS and its provisions on EEZs are not to be renegotiated, but agreement facilitated on more effective and practical implementation arrangements. It is already accepted that coastal States and distant water fishing States should cooperate, but what needs to be established is the level of cooperation.

The debate then moved on to a thorough examination of Section II on regional and sub-regional organizations. A delegate stated that the problem is that the mandate of this Conference is to look at how cooperation has been carried out in practice, but it is unclear how this has been done.

Section II does not illustrate how successful the regional organizations have been over the past 12 years or what conservation and management problems have arisen. It was argued that the key paragraph is paragraph 7 on cooperation, but it was unclear whether its application would be on the high seas or in the EEZs. A delegate asked whether the area referred to is taken in the context of data gathering or applicability of conservation measures.

Reference to States acting in good faith was seen by some as superfluous, while others argued for its retention. This paragraph should include a provision on the special interests of coastal States.

In paragraph 12, it was felt that reference should be made to those States that do not cooperate and to the extent of any cooperation, as opposed to simple participation in the regional fishing agreements.

On paragraph 13 and the accession of new entrants, one delegate stated that incentives might need to be given to ensure that new entrants join the regional agreements, and this might be to the detriment of those that already belong to the regional organizations. Some of the provisions proposed in the document L.11/Rev.1 were suggested as being more acceptable alternative language. One delegate said that Section II is a good basis for negotiation, but more emphasis should be given to measures taken at the global level and complimented Greenpeace in their initiatives.

It was suggested that paragraph 13(d) needed some further reflection, and the reference to historical fishing patterns should be replaced by "the fishing practices of the non-party". Paragraph 13(e) was seen by many as too vague, and appropriate alternative languages were suggested.

With reference to paragraph 14, alternative stronger language was suggested that would place more obligation on States to enter into agreements or arrangements. This would then reflect the more assertive action that needs to be taken.

The debate drifted once more to the scope of application of the Conference, and one delegate suggested that the issue be addressed head-on and that a specific paragraph be devoted to the matter. The representative of a coastal State said that distant water fishing States wanted to delete references to the high seas because their own coastal waters are not under threat, but that they would feel and react very differently if their own sovereign rights were threatened. A delegate reflected on the absence of uniform reference to the need for cooperative scientific research on the high seas and how, while scientific knowledge was desirable, it was often not attainable by developing coastal States because of heavy financial costs. He reserved the right to tender, under this section, a specific paragraph on this matter in a future session.

On paragraph 15, one distant water fishing State suggested sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) could perhaps be combined or, alternatively, (b) separated out from close proximity to (a). One delegate suggested that the title of Section II might be better called "Principles for International Cooperation".

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