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CODE OF CONDUCT FOR RESPONSIBLE FISHING

Consultations were held on the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing at FAO Headquarters in Rome in September 1994. The results of these negotiations were not entirely satisfactory as coastal States and distant water fishing States seemed to adopt opposite positions on the whole process. On the one hand, some coastal States insisted that the provisions of the draft Code should remain in brackets until the UN effort on straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks is finalized. Distant water fishing States, on the other hand, saw the two processes as entirely different and actually favor the FAO Code, as based on a voluntary approach. Coastal States would rather see the restrictive measures apply solely to straddling and highly migratory fish stocks and are adamant about encroachments on their national sovereignty in their exclusive economic zones (EEZs). As a result, the FAO process is now being hindered by the UN Conference process and some fear that the FAO is losing some of its edge and taking a back seat rather than proceeding on the fast track. The draft Code and the comments made by the delegates will be transmitted to the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) in March 1995.