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THIRD SUBSTANTIVE SESSION

The third session of the UN Conference on Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks was held at UN Headquarters in New York from 15-26 August 1994. During the first week, delegates reviewed the Revised Negotiating Text (RNT) as contained in document A/CONF.164/13/Rev.1. General comments were delivered in the Plenary and consultations were carried out in informal-informals. During the second week, the Chair issued a Draft Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 Relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (the "Draft Agreement"), based on the comments that delegates had made on the RNT. Informal consultations on the most difficult issues were then carried out between the Chair and interested delegations. Delegates reacted to the text and the last version of the Draft Agreement was issued in document A/CONF.164/22 before the Conference adjourned.

The 31-page Draft Agreement contains a Preamble, 47 articles in 13 parts and three annexes. It is in the form of a legally-binding agreement and some of the distant water fishing States have repeatedly expressed their opposition to such a form. The Preamble is short and concise and recalls the principles of UNCLOS, notes the need to improve cooperation between coastal States and flag States, calls for more effective enforcement measures and commits State Parties to responsible fishing. It does not refer to the FAO Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas. The 13 ensuing parts deal with the following issues: general provisions; conservation and management of straddling and highly migratory fish stocks; mechanisms for international cooperation concerning straddling and highly migratory fish stocks; compliance and enforcement; port State enforcement; requirements of developing States; peaceful settlement of disputes; non-participants; abuse of rights; non- parties to this Agreement; reports on implementation and review conference; and final provisions. Three annexes deal respectively with minimum standards for collection and sharing of data, suggested guidelines for application of precautionary reference points and arbitration procedures. In the closing session, the Chair encouraged delegations to undertake intersessional consultations in order to facilitate negotiations and help achieve agreement at the next session of the Conference. He said he would continue to liaise and consult with delegations and, in order to maintain transparency and flow of information to all delegations and observers, would report to the Conference at the next session on any developments resulting from such intersessional consultations.

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