Yearbook of International Environmental Law - Vol. 7

By Günther Handl; Jutta Brunnée et al. | Go to book overview

The New International Environmental Law of
Fisheries: The 1995 United Nations Straddling Stocks
Agreement

David Freestone and Zen Makuch1


I. INTRODUCTION

On 13 February 1995, Canadian fisheries protection officers boarded and arrested a Spanish registered fishing vessel, the Estai, outside the Canadian 200-mile exclusive fishing zone2 on the Grand Banks off the coast of Newfoundland, alleging that the vessel was fishing in breach of North-west Atlantic Fisheries Organisation conservation and management measures.

The Spanish complaint about Canada's action is still sub judice, making its way through the International Court of Justice. But the resulting dispute between Canada and the European Union (EU), which is responsible for the regulation of the fishing activities of EU members states (which include Spain), was formally settled on 20 April 1995 in an exchange of notes between the Government of Canada and the European Union.3 On 4 August 1995, after six working sessions, the UN Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks finally concluded an Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks.4 And on

____________________
1
The authors would like to extend their gratitude to a number of people for reading earlier drafts of this article and for their most helpful comments: Professor Patricia Birnie, Dr. Ellen Hey, Professor Christopher C. Joyner, H.E. Judge Dolliver Nelson, Dr. Laurence Boisson de Chazournes, and Dr. Maurizio Ragazzi. Any errors of fact or judgment that remain are the responsibility of the authors. The views expressed are the personal views of the authors.
2
Declared 1 January 1977.
3
This exchange confirmed an agreement concluded on 16 April 1995 to improve Fishery Control and Enforcement in the North-west Atlantic Fishery Organisation (NAFO) Regulatory Area, to settle voluntary quotas for Greenland Halibut for 1995 and to submit joint proposals to NAFO for management arrangements for that stock for 1995 and thereafter. The Agreed Minute of this agreement is reproduced with comments by David Freestone at 10 INT'L J. MARINE & COASTAL L. 397 ( 1995). See also Peter Davies, Current Developments: The EC/Canadian Fisheries Dispute in the Northwest Atlantic, 44 INT'L & COMP. L.Q. 933 ( 1995).
4
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

-3-

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