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SECTION III -- GENERAL PRINCIPLES

Japan said that many of the measures listed in sub-paragraphs B and C (precautionary approach and compatibility) could apply both to high seas and EEZs, but that this should also be true for sub-paragraph A on the nature of conservation and management measures. There are only a few provisions in A that would not apply in the EEZ such as 3(g) on sharing of data and 3(k) on discrimination, but the other provisions should apply to both zones since they deal with general principles. Other distant water fishing States supported this proposal to respect the biological unity of the stocks. This view was supported by the EU, who said that the formulation needs to be more general, while respecting the sovereignty of the coastal States. The obligation of the coastal States in their EEZs should be made more specific and refer to an obligation to conserve.

Canada likened this attempt to put more burden on the coastal States as "salami tactics" on the part of the distant water fishing States, while Peru said they had an obstructionist attitude. The Chair called on all participants to calm down and said that the issue of compatibility could be solved if it is looked at in a practical way. Coastal States and distant water fishing States exchanged rhetorical arguments throughout the afternoon.

While some delegates understood the need for compatibility between measures in the EEZ and on the high seas, they highlighted the fact that this should not lead to identical measures, since some measures taken on the high seas may not be applicable to the EEZs. Canada suggested, and Australia and Indonesia concurred, that paragraph 3 be split to reflect the concerns of coastal States and where the former part A would apply exclusively to the high seas. It might then be necessary to add an additional clause to note that "nothing in this convention shall be construed as prejudicing the sovereign rights of the coastal States ...." India added that while this amendment was a helpful suggestion, it should not apply to the paragraphs dealing with the special requirements of developing States and scientific research. The US said that the sovereignty of the coastal States in their EEZs should in no way be compromised, but that the general principles in Section III.A should apply in both the EEZs and on the high seas.

China asked that a footnote be added to explain that "high seas" refers to the area beyond 200 miles. The Chair noted that this addresses cases where the coastal State has not declared an exclusive zone, but added that he was not sure that such a footnote would solve the problem. Russia suggested that "beyond the EEZ" be added after "on the high seas." It was highlighted that several other terms need to be defined carefully in view of the disputes that will arise. Canada suggested that they be inserted after the Preamble and before the objective. Japan said that UNCLOS had listed highly migratory species without defining them and warned against inconsistency, but Russia answered that this imprecision was partly to blame for the fisheries crisis.

Brazil asked why paragraph 3(a) referred to economic factors as well as the best scientific evidence. The Chair answered that this was derived from Article 61 of UNCLOS. India said that a reference to the best scientific evidence might not apply to developing States, and both Brazil and Sweden asked whether it was wise to retain such an old concept as that of Maximum Sustainable Yield ("MSY"). Sweden suggested that reference be made to the long-term sustainability of fisheries.

Brazil said that nowhere in the text is mention made of special conservation areas, and he suggested that they might be established wherever oceanic ecosystems are recognized for their importance to the life cycle of the stocks.

Mexico suggested that the recommendations in Section III.A(c) and (d) on species associated with target species and selective gear be dealt through appropriate information on by-catch.

Thailand asked that the reference to the number of vessels be replaced with the capacity of vessels.

The delegate of Indonesia said that if paragraph 3(a) was applied in the EEZ it would represent a complete negation of the EEZ. With regard to paragraph 3(f), on developing countries, it is necessary to help those countries fulfill their obligations but also to provide mechanisms to enable their participation in high seas fisheries. The Chair suggested that all developing country issues be clustered together.

The delegate of India, supported by Thailand, agreed that there was no legal duty to cooperate on resources in the EEZ. Regarding the best scientific advice, this can only be attained with the consent of the State concerned.

The delegate of Kenya emphasized the need to strengthen capacity building. He was concerned that environmental factors should be more expressly taken into account under Section III.B, which deals with the precautionary approaches to fisheries management.

Korea said that Section III.C.7(d) should be amended to better reflect that management measures established on the high seas would be no more stringent than those established in the EEZ. Poland said that the paragraph should be deleted, while China maintained that the requirement be given vice-versa status.

The delegate from Ukraine said that biological unity should not be prejudicial to the sovereign rights of the coastal State and supported Canada's contention that Section II, dealing with application, be split into two parts. This was supported by Fiji. Ukraine supported the Russian Federation's intervention that seeks a viable and workable management approach to unsustainable fishing practices in enclosed and semi-enclosed seas. He suggested that this could be adequately incorporated into paragraph 3(e), which provides for States to take measures to deal with over-harvesting and over-capacity.

Sweden tendered three specific observations on Section III: decisions on conservation and management measures should be based on the state of the marine environment; the interest of local communities and indigenous people should be adequately taken into account when negotiating regional and subregional agreements; and clearer guidelines be established in the sub-section on the precautionary approach to fisheries management, Section III.B.4(d). An alternative Swedish text underlines the need for States to be more cautious in managing a resource about which little might be known and, additionally, seeks amendment to Annex 2 of the RNT so that the MSY should be viewed as a limit for fisheries management.

Fiji said that when redrafting the RNT it is necessary to bring in the full rights and obligations of coastal States as defined by UNCLOS and keep the principles enshrined in the FAO Compliance Agreement.

The EU said that it was not necessarily the five percent of fish caught outside the EEZ that caused management problems inside the EEZ and it was not proper to use different principles when dealing with the biological unity of fish stocks.

Thailand supported the Indian position that a quotas concept should only apply with regard to a fair and equitable distribution of high seas resources. Referring to the collection of data, Thailand, supported by Ecuador, said this should be available free of charge since it is necessary to give developing States the means to apply effective management measures. The US said there is a need to collate common data throughout the entire geographic range of the stock.

Poland said he could not accept any extension of the rights of coastal States, but he could accept the rights to cooperate on an equal footing. He could not support the concluding sentence of the chapeau in Section III.C.7, requiring States to respect measures and arrangements adopted by relevant coastal States in accordance with UNCLOS.

Poland circulated alternative text on paragraph 8 dealing with the dispute settlement mechanisms under which States are to settle disputes over incompatible and uncoordinated conservation and management measures.

With regard to Part B on the precautionary approaches to fisheries management, the representative of Japan said the RNT recognized the intense discussions of the Working Group held in March. The US did not agree and said both Part B and its accompanying annex needed strengthening since it did not reflect the Working Group's text. The Russian Federation said that "minimum standards" in paragraph 4(d) was not a careful precautionary approach to fisheries conservation and management. The term "optimum standards" is more applicable. The EU said the provision to widely apply the precautionary approach in the chapeau of paragraph 4 is not clear. Clarity can be promoted by ensuring that the concept of biological unity is applied to the entire stock throughout its entire area of distribution. The delegate from Chile, and former Chair of the Working Group on the Precautionary Approach, said that as the text properly reflected his report, he could not support any amendments.

Japan said that the second sentence of UNCLOS Article 64, dealing with cooperation by relevant coastal States where no appropriate regional or other organization exists, is missing in paragraph 5(b), and he circulated alternative language to cover this anomaly.

In Section III.C, compatibility, China said it was necessary to introduce the concept of rational utilization when agreeing upon the conservation of fish stocks in the area adjacent to the EEZ of a coastal State. Regarding the Russian intervention for inclusion of a new paragraph 3(g) with respect to temporary measures necessary to prevent overfishing in enclosed and semi-enclosed areas, the Chinese delegate said this would provide for unilateral coastal State action contrary to UNCLOS.

India supported the use of UNCLOS language in paragraph 8 on dispute settlement provisions.

Japan said that this proposal on subparagraph 5(b) is no more or less than what is provided in UNCLOS. New Zealand stated that even though the language comes from UNCLOS, it did not mean that such language must be completely reflected in the RNT. India favored keeping the chapeau of paragraph 7 as it is. In paragraph 8, he supported the use of language from UNCLOS regarding dispute settlement mechanisms. New Zealand supported making the provisions of paragraph 4(b) mandatory, especially programmes for collection of data on fishing of non-target species.

The representative of the Canadian Oceans Caucus said that under Section III.A(b)(ii), limits to fishing efforts should include capacity along with the number of fishing days.

The representative of the World Wide Fund for Nature said that Section B of the RNT, "Precautionary approaches to fisheries management," requires that the precautionary approach be widely applied to fisheries management, both on the high seas and within EEZs, in order to protect the marine environment. In sub-paragraph (b), she suggested that States protect associated ecosystems.

The representative of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council suggested incorporating an amended version of the Scientific Working Group Paper on "Reference Points for Fisheries Management," prepared during the second substantive session of the Conference, into any international instrument evolving from this forum. The amendment suggests that impacts suffered by the marine ecosystem and fish stocks from toxic pollution and the effects of increased solar ultraviolet radiation in the marine ecosystem be calculated and provided for in the establishment of all fishery management plans.

The Chair stated that common ground has now been found on the objectives. The Conference is working to ensure long-term sustainability of straddling and highly migratory fish stocks. There is broad agreement on the application of some of the basic principles. He said that everyone agrees that principles relating to the precautionary approach should be applied throughout the range of the stocks, taking into account their biological unity. There is common ground on compatibility to ensure stocks in the EEZ and the high seas are managed on the basis of common minimum standards. The Chair said that the area presenting difficulty is the application of minimum standards in the economic zone and in the adjacent high seas. The problem is one of respect for the sovereign rights of coastal States to manage their resources and the interrelationship of the stocks found in the adjacent high seas. The Chair suggested the possibility of a roundtable to examine the problem of enclosed and semi-enclosed seas.

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