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INFORMAL PLENARY

Chile expressed concern over Article 8 (3), dealing with the general requirements for membership in regional and subregional arrangements and organizations. He stated this issue is covered in UNCLOS, and suggested the addition of 'in accordance with Article 118 of the Convention'. The delegate also proposed that Article 5 be modified to allow for coastal State interim control of fishing activities extending to the high seas until conservation and management measures can be implemented. He expressed concern over Article 5 (j), which cross-references with Annex 1, and stated that the Annex should provide only guidelines to regional organizations and should not be mandatory. The EU agreed that Article 8 is very important in protecting all States involved. He said that Article 21 makes it possible for coastal States and regional organizations to impose rules on DWFNs and restated the EU commitment to open membership in these organizations. Peru commented that Article 8(3) should refer to organizational functioning in accordance with other provisions of the Convention, and presented specific proposals including: a functional definition of HMFS for Article 1, a requirement that regional and subregional organizations take into account the rights of relevant coastal States in Article 10, and an extended application of Article 21.

Japan made several recommendations, including: inserting a reference to regional fishery management organizations into Article 1(a); referring to a stock enhancement programme in Article 5(d); and deleting 'where a new fishery is being pursued' from Article 8(2) as too prohibitive. Japan disagreed with the suggested deletion of 'best scientific information available' from Article 5(b), suggested that the GEF and CSD may not be appropriate bodies for Article 23 and expressed willingness to explore better language for Article 8(3). The EU said that Article 3 (3), on application, must not weaken accepted universal principles, that Article 7 must be strengthened not only with regard to the measures taken, but also their application and that Article 17 (3), dealing with non-participants, also needs strengthening. The EU had some difficulty with the Agreement's provisional entry into force. Referring to the circulation of document A/CONF.164/CRP.7, the EU said the editorial changes undertaken amounted to substantial weakening of the Draft Agreement. Israel questioned the word 'transparency' in Article 15 and asked for clarification.

Thailand recognized the need to board vessels in certain circumstances, but prompt compensation should be effected if the boarding was proven unjustified. It is not possible to 'ensure' that flag States vessels do not engage in unauthorized fishing, and he suggested that flag States should 'seek to ensure' that unauthorized fishing did not occur within areas under the national jurisdiction of other States. China proposed reference to Programme Area D of Agenda 21 in the Preamble. He said the definition of fish is redundant in Article 1 and should be replaced by a definition of SFS. He said Article 14 is unnecessary as the definition of high seas already exists in UNCLOS. The Russian Federation said that Articles 13 and 14 dealing with enclosed and semi-enclosed seas and enclaves must be retained in the Draft Agreement. He said that the exclusion of Article 14 would make the Draft Agreement unacceptable. He urged for inclusion of a species listing for SFS.

The Chair stated that a good start had been achieved because it was essential to identify the specific issues pre-occupying some delegations. He added that some issues would need further discussion, while other issues will only waste valuable time. Nandan said the programme of work for today would include informal consultations followed by informal Plenary discussion on A/CONF.164/CRP.7

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