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AFTERNOON PLENARY

INDIA: The representative of India supported the Chair's revised negotiating text as a useful basis for future work. The text has to be biased in favor of the coastal State and the protection of its rights over marine living resources. A dispute settlement mechanism exists in UNCLOS, and he questioned the wisdom of adopting a separate dispute settlement mechanism in a future session of the Conference.

CHINA: The representative of China said that the negotiating text is both a good framework and a foundation upon which the work of this session can be based. He highlighted a number of points, including the scope of this Conference, and the fact that regional and subregional arrangements should be open to all and allow for equal participation. Enforcement measures should be taken in compliance with UNCLOS.

ICELAND: The representative of Iceland said that since it has taken a long time to convene this Conference, the participants should aim for no less than a legally binding and comprehensive instrument, which ensures effective management and conservation, is acceptable to all nations, and will be applied equally to all parts of the world and effectively implemented. He added that issues of management and conservation of stocks within the EEZ need not be discussed here. As this Conference is based on the results of UNCED, it is of paramount importance that the conclusion be consistent with the general principle of sustainable development, including the precautionary approach.

SWEDEN: Ulf Svensson said that the Chair's revised negotiating text provides a global system based on regional agreements and arrangements. The basis of a global framework is UNCLOS and a strong commitment to Agenda 21. Details should be worked out regionally. There should be compulsory participation in regional organizations by States fishing on the high seas in the areas of these organizations. Membership of regional organizations should be open to all States. Another area for new treaty law regulation is enforcement to complement the main provisions of UNCLOS, and binding and compulsory dispute settlement.

URUGUAY: The representative said that this Conference should achieve an effective system for conserving highly migratory fish stocks and straddling fish stocks in an ordered way to ensure maximum production and use. To achieve this goal, concrete norms and rules for assigning specific functions and responsibilities to States and a dispute mechanism are essential.

FAO: A representative of the FAO said the deliberations of the Conference have reached a critical stage in taking important decisions about how straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks will be conserved and managed in the future. She said the FAO is considering and negotiating three initiatives parallel to, but pre-dating, the Conference: the Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fish Vessels on the High Seas (the Compliance Agreement); the adoption of a Convention on the establishment of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC); and the elaboration of an International Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing (Code of Conduct).

ALASKA MARINE CONSERVATION COUNCIL: Chris Chavasse said that toxicological impairment of fish stocks occurs all over the planet, affecting the ability of fish to function in biologically appropriate ways, and to maintain themselves in the marine environment. These issues are not considered in biological reference points to assist fishery managers. Such issues should be incorporated into any final document or convention. Issues such as ozone depletion and its effects on fish in the long term must be addressed in this Conference.

WORLDWIDE FUND FOR NATURE: Indrani Lutchman said that the conservation, enforcement and transparency provisions in the current negotiating text should be strengthened. She added that a legally binding document would significantly improve the way that the world fisheries are managed and would help ensure the sustainability of fisheries, dependent ecosystems and fishing industries in the long term. Strong enforceable conservation measures should be taken, as well as provisions for effective enforcement and compulsory, binding dispute resolution, and mandatory measures to improve transparency. She also called for the adoption of a deadline for completing the negotiations on a treaty, and for the adoption of provisional measures.

GREENPEACE: Matthew Gianni said that coastal States are now taking unilateral measures, and tensions among the fleets are on the rise. To ensure the effective implementation of the fisheries provisions of UNCLOS, the Conference must conclude with a legally binding document that contains sufficient substance, stringent standards that apply throughout the range of the stocks, and restrictions of non-selective gear. He also called for greater NGO participation and regretted that they had been excluded from inter-sessional meetings.

The Chair answered that NGO presence would be assured even in the small informal meetings on a rotating basis, but that private meetings might be held where NGOs might be excluded, but the results of such meetings would be reported in full to the Plenary.

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