Un Straddling Fish Stocks Agreement

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Article 18.3, point (e), states that „the position of vessels, the capture of target and non-target species, fishing efforts and other relevant fisheries data are collected and communicated in a timely manner in accordance with sub-regional, regional and global standards for the collection of this data.“ Article 18.3, point g) iii) requires flag states to monitor, control and monitor their vessels. To this end, the agreement calls for „the development and implementation of ship surveillance systems (VMS), including, where appropriate, satellite radio navigation systems, in accordance with all national programmes and those that have been the subject of sub-regional, regional or global agreement between the States concerned.“ Appendix I contains standard requirements for data collection, including vessel positioning and fishing activities. The harvest control rules triggered at or near the target reference point are intended to return or maintain the stock at their destination. Rules that are triggered at the limit value are designed to reduce a stock to a biologically safe level and avoid a crash. In serious circumstances, managers may have to close a fishery that has exceeded a reference point until the stock is replenished. According to the agreement, management strategies should ensure that the risk of exceeding the limit value is „very low.“ 17 The agreement strives to achieve this goal by establishing a framework for cooperation in the conservation and management of these resources. It promotes good governance in the oceans through effective management and conservation of offshore resources, including setting detailed minimum international standards for the conservation and management of straddling fish stocks and large migratory fish stocks; Ensure that conservation and management measures for these stocks are compatible and consistent in areas under national jurisdiction and on the adjacent high seas; Ensure that effective mechanisms are in place to ensure compliance and implementation of these measures on the high seas; and recognising the specific conservation and management requirements of developing countries, as well as development and participation in fisheries for the two types of stocks mentioned above. In 1995, the world`s heads of state and government adopted the UN Agreement on Fisheries Resources1 to „ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable exploitation of straddling fish stocks and large migratory fish stocks.“ The agreement, in force since 2001, is the main international instrument to encourage countries to assume the cooperation necessary to manage common fish stocks. Neither the biology nor the ecology of these fish respects the legal boundaries that separate the waters from the nations. This means that these stocks cannot be managed by a single state. UNFSA urges its parties to cooperate to ensure that stocks are exploited sustainably, in accordance with the best available scientific knowledge, and to adopt an ecosystem-based approach that takes into account their value in the wider ocean life network. While some depleted tuna boats, such as the Eastern Atlantic red spot, are recovering, many stocks exploited by the five MFOs continue to be overfished and overfished.

The inability of Member State governments to replenish depleted stocks means that they are not meeting their obligations under UNFSA. This issue needs to be addressed at the highest level and could be a key outcome of the conference. The parties to UNFSA convened twice to verify their implementation: at a review conference in 20063 and at a review conference resumed in 2010.4 Each meeting made recommendations to improve cooperation and better manage global stocks.5 The parties will conduct a third review in May 2016.