ENB:07:39 [Next] . [Previous] . [Contents]

PREAMBLE

The Russian Federation said that the Preamble broadly reflected the negotiations of the March session. Still lacking in the Preamble were paragraphs dealing with the outstanding UNCLOS problems relating to straddling and highly migratory fish stocks, the specific rights of coastal States, and the exclusion of Part IX dealing with enclosed and semi-enclosed seas.

Ukraine welcomed the Chair's efforts to establish international cooperation on conservation and management of straddling and highly migratory fish stocks. He said the significance of UNCLOS needs to be more precisely introduced in the Preamble. Ukraine supported the Russian Federation in properly reflecting the rights of coastal States.

China asked that reference to Agenda 21 be amended to refer to Chapter 17 and that the enhanced reflection be extended toward Programme Areas C and D. Since the question of jurisdiction exists not only on the high seas but also in the EEZs, it is necessary to refer to "living marine resources." Changing the emphasis on sustainability to sustainable utilization of fish resources would better reflect other environmental and natural factors.

The EU, supported by Korea, Mexico and Poland, suggested the deletion of reference to high seas fisheries in the third preambular paragraph. The EU said that matters of escape control are better treated by compliance with international conservation and management measures, as preferentially reflected in Agenda 21 and covered in the FAO's agreement.

Thailand said the fishing capacity of a fleet is more important than its size. He could not support provisions suggesting that a coastal State could exercise any jurisdiction beyond its EEZ.

Peru supported the Preamble, but suggested that if the Conference agreed to refine it, appropriate alternative language could be extrapolated from paragraphs 4 and 6 in Ecuador's proposal (A/CONF.164/L.44*).

Mexico said the Preamble should include reference to the FAO's Code of Conduct and the Canc�n Declaration. It would be beneficial to define the norms of responsible fishing at the world level. Mauritania supported Mexico and Indonesia in calling for inclusion of reference to responsible fishing as promoted by the Canc�n Declaration. Mexico and Indonesia asked that the Preamble recognize the special rights of developing countries.

New Zealand disagreed with the EU, Japan, Norway and Chile, and said he could support reference to the adoption of the FAO Compliance Agreement in the Preamble, but could not endorse the agreement. New Zealand and its South Pacific colleagues underlined their concerns that the FAO Agreement was inappropriate, unlawful and possibly contrary to UNCLOS in excluding vessels under 24 meters. The US, with concurrence from FAO, said that the FAO Agreement applies to all vessels, with the exception of certain administrative requirements.

Canada associated itself with Mexico, Peru and others and said it could not accept re-opening debate on the Conference mandate.

Ecuador objected to attempts to delete references to the high seas and to attempts to include references to the EEZs. He added that delegates cannot become oracles in the ministry of truth and rewrite history.

Australia supported New Zealand in underlining the FAO Agreement's shortcomings. Australia said reference to the high seas, both with respect to the Conference mandate and Agenda 21, should be maintained.

The Chair said the Conference was making "heavy weather" of the Preamble. He said he favored a short Preamble as found in UNCLOS. The Conference is concerned with implementing the Law of the Sea. A practical approach should identify workable mechanisms.

Peru, supported by Uruguay, suggested that a final compromise might be to include the words "to complement the relevant provisions" in the penultimate paragraph of the Preamble.

[Return to start of article]