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A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF THE CONFERENCE

The fisheries highway navigated by delegates over the last three years has been a turbulent one, often rocked by coastal State ambitions to promote "creeping jurisdiction" over the resources of the high seas. Many of the arguments, for and against this move were rehearsed much as they were during the UNCLOS negotiations which created the EEZ regime. A number of actors negotiating at the Conference were veterans of the UNCLOS era, but their egos were often stymied by objective "young turks" who, perhaps conscious of the wider environmental agenda, were better able to appreciate the range of linked environmental issues. It was not surprising therefore to see issues of transparency, the rights of fishers, the precautionary approach and obligatory data collection constituted as new principles of high seas fisheries conservation and management.

THE COASTAL STATE-FLAG STATE DIVIDE: From beginning to end the Conference, negotiations were conducted between these two groups. The DWFNs consisting of the EU, China, Japan, Korea and Poland, were ranged against "the rest" who were led by the like-minded core group consisting of Argentina, Canada, Chile, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway and Peru, later joined by Indonesia. The coastal State caucus sought to secure enhanced coastal State jurisdiction over the resources of the high seas, while the DWFNs fought against any such "creeping jurisdiction" by the coastal States. Even up until the eleventh hour of negotiations, the Latin Americans wanted such enhanced jurisdiction. In each of the principle caucus groups certain divisions existed, and the only caucus group with a unified voice was the South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency.

THE PIVOTAL ROLE OF THE CHAIR: Identifying the "Friends of the Chair" was never an easy task. Perhaps all was revealed in the Chair's closing statement when Satya Nandan expressly thanked four of his colleagues from the Pacific region —representatives from the Australia, the FFA, Fiji and New Zealand — whose assistance he said had been "unstinting and selfless." The role of the Chair was never an easy one. The return of Iceland's skillful Amb. Gudmundur Eiriksson to the Conference appeared to assist the Chair in some of the more difficult informal consultations. The Chair, as a veteran of the UNCLOS, had a special relationship with many of the delegates present, but his entrepreneurial style, embodying pragmatism and an unselfish desire to steer the Conference through uncharted waters did much to warm delegates to his personal style of negotiation. Nandan's own special contribution was warmly applauded by individual delegates and Conference as a whole at the sessions conclusion.

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