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International Ocean Law. Jurisdiction Marine Pollution International Fishing. Fisheries. Jurisdiction. Fishing has increased four-fold since 1950s. Fisheries. Impacts of increased fishing 2/3 of world’s fisheries are overfished Some of the largest fisheries have collapsed

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International ocean law

International Ocean Law


Marine Pollution

International Fishing


  • Impacts of increased fishing

    • 2/3 of world’s fisheries are overfished

    • Some of the largest fisheries have collapsed

    • Fishing fleet doubled from 1970 through mid-2000s, but catch has been the same or declined since 1990

      • = more effort to catch


  • What happens to caught fish?

    • Food for humans

      • Developing countries: 20% of Africa’s population depend on fish for their protein

      • Fish is main protein source for a billion people

    • Bait

    • Fertilizer (30% of caught fish!)

    • Bycatch = unintentionally caught fish


  • Why has fishing increased so much?

    • EEZs = exclusive national jurisdiction over marine resources

      • Promoted domestic fishing industries

      • Once they exploited all the fish in their EEZs, they moved to the high seas/international waters

    • Technology

      • More effective harvesting and tracking technology

      • Factory ships: process fish at sea, allow ships to store more and more fish


  • Why has fishing increased so much?

    • More boats: fleet doubled between 1970-1990

      • 585,000 to 1.2 million commercial boats

      • Does not include millions of smaller boats

    • Subsidies

      • Countries give fishing industries loans and payments = $54 billion/year in 1993

      • Contrary to Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) estimate that need to remove 23% of world’s fishing fleet to rehabilitate fisheries


  • Why has fishing increased so much?

    • Regulation outside of EEZs is lightly regulated

    • Regulation within EEZs often is, too

      • National governments are reluctant to require fishermen to reduce catch

      • Would probably require fishermen to leave the industry and might bankrupt some of the fishermen


  • Why has fishing increased so much?

    • EEZ regulatory model

      • Scientists set range for allowable catch (e.g., XXX tons of tonno from the fishery)

      • Regulators pick allowable catch from the range

        • Often the highest number = not precautionary

        • Even if regulators pick a conservative number, politicians may intervene

      • It is easier for regulators to allow too high of catch – and allow the fishermen to drive themselves out of business because the fish are gone – than it is for the regulators to force some fishermen out of business by reducing the catch


  • Spiraling consequences of overfishing

    • Killing top-level predators

    • Bycatch


  • Killing top-level predators

    • Humans like tuna, swordfish, halibut = carnivorous fish that eat other predators

    • If you catch the top-level predators, then the next level has no population control

      • They will overconsume the next group in the food chain = disrupted ecosystems


  • Fishing techniques exacerbate the problems

    • Trawling

    • nets

    • Longlines

  • They also increase the need to fish more

    • Expensive equipment need more money need more fish need more equipment


  • Bycatch

    • Discarded species not intended to be caught

      • E.g., dolphins in the tuna fishery

      • Small or unfit target species

      • Can also include urchin, sponges, sea turtles, birds, etc.

    • Direct impacts on the bycatch themselves

    • Indirect effect = damaging the food chain – target species have nothing to eat

Fisheries the legal regime
Fisheries – The Legal Regime

  • Overarching concepts

    • Exploitation must be conducted on “rational basis” = with conscious, reasonable objectives, taking account of scientific advice

    • Species must be regulated as a biological unit – i.e., within its whole range

    • All ecological factors that affect conservation of species and habitat must be considered

  • Translating these into laws is difficult!!

Fisheries the legal regime1
Fisheries – The Legal Regime

  • UNCLOS - overview

    • Territorial sea = coastal state has exclusive sovereignty to regulate fisheries

    • EEZ = coastal state retains exclusive rights to explore, exploit, and manage living marine resources

      • Subject to responsibility to manage and conserve the living marine resources

Fisheries the legal regime2
Fisheries – The Legal Regime

  • Four categories of fish

    • Straddling stocks – EEZ + high seas

    • Highly migratory species – many EEZs + high seas

    • Anadromous = born in fresh water, live in ocean, return to fresh water to spawn

    • Catadromous= live in fresh water, spawn in salt water

  • We’ll discuss the first 2

Fisheries the legal regime3
Fisheries – The Legal Regime

  • UNCLOS Articles

    • EEZ rights

    • Conservation of living resources

    • Utilization of living resources

    • Straddling stocks

    • Highly migratory species

    • Freedom of high seas

    • Right to fish on high seas

    • Duty of states to conserve on high seas

    • Cooperation + conservation on high seas

Fisheries the legal regime4
Fisheries – The Legal Regime

  • EEZ rights

    • Coastal states have sovereign rights for exploring, exploiting, conserving, and managing

    • Coastal state shall have “due regard” to rights and duties of other states

Fisheries the legal regime5
Fisheries – The Legal Regime

  • Conservation of living resources

    • Coastal state shall determine the allowable catch of the living resources in its EEZ

    • Shall, taking into account best scientific evidence, ensure proper conservation and management to avoid over-exploitation

      • Should cooperate with other governments and organizations

Fisheries the legal regime6
Fisheries – The Legal Regime

  • Conservation of living resources

    • Shall maintain or restore populations to maximum sustainable yield

      • As qualified by relevant environmental/economic factors

      • Including economic needs of coastal fishing communities

      • Taking into account interdependence of stocks and generally recommended standards

Fisheries the legal regime7
Fisheries – The Legal Regime

  • Utilization of living resources

    • Coastal states shall promote optimum utilization of living resources

    • Shall determine capacity to harvest living resources

      • If coastal state doesn’t have capacity to harvest the entire allowable catch, shall give other states access to the surplus of the allowable catch

      • Other states and their citizens must comply with coast state laws when harvesting

Fisheries the legal regime8
Fisheries – The Legal Regime

  • Freedom of high seas

    • High seas are open to all States, whether coastal or land-locked

    • Freedom of high seas =

      • Freedom of navigation

      • Freedom of fishing, subject to

        • Need to exercise “due regard” for interests of other States and rights under the convention

Fisheries the legal regime9
Fisheries – The Legal Regime

  • Right to fish on high seas

    • Subject to

      • Treaty obligations

      • Rights and duties and interests of coastal states

Fisheries the legal regime10
Fisheries – The Legal Regime

  • Duty of states to conserve on high seas

    • All states have a duty to take measures for their nationals as may be necessary for conservation of living resources

Fisheries the legal regime11
Fisheries – The Legal Regime

  • Cooperation + conservation on high seas

    • All shall cooperate in the conservation of living resources

Fisheries the legal regime12
Fisheries – The Legal Regime

  • Conservation of living resources

    • In determining allowable catch

      • Take measures to produce maximum sustainable yield, as qualified by environmental and economic factors

      • Consider effects on harvests and associate species to avoid harvesting at levels where reproduction may be seriously threatened.

Fisheries the legal regime13
Fisheries – The Legal Regime

  • Straddling stocks

    • Where the same stock/stocks of associate species occur within EEZ of 2 or more coastal states, States shall work to manage stocks cooperatively

    • Fishing interests shall, through subregional and regional organizations, agree on measures necessary

Fisheries the legal regime14
Fisheries – The Legal Regime

  • Highly migratory species

    • Coastal state and other states whose nationals fish for highly migratory species shall cooperate with international organizations to ensure conservation and optimum utilization of the species throughout the region

    • If no regional organization, shall cooperate