Arbitral Tribunal and ECtHR: The Kerch Strait Incident November 2018

An incident between Ukrainian and Russian governmental vessels occurred in the vicinity of the entrance to the Kerch Strait, 25 November 2018, of which the facts are disputed.

In a letter (2) dated 27 November 2018, Ukraine informed the Arbitral Tribunal in the Dispute Concerning Coastal State Rights in the Black Sea, Sea of Azov, and Kerch Strait (Ukraine v. the Russian Federation) (previously reported) about the incident, on the basis it aggravated the parties’ dispute. Ukraine also filed its response to Russia’s jurisdictional objections.

On the 29 November 2018 an inter-State application was lodged by Ukraine before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) under Article 33 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Application no. 55855/18, Ukraine v. Russia (VIII). The ECtHR put factual questions to the Russian Government. The Russian Justice Ministry responded, but objected to the Ukrainian application. On the 4 December 2018 the ECtHR, under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, indicated interim measures to the Russian Government concerning medical treatment for the captive Ukrainian naval personnel.

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CBD: new EBSAs in the Baltic agreed to

A final step for nine ecologically unique marine areas in the Baltic Sea to be included in a global registry was taken during the UN Biodiversity Conference held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, from 17 to 29 November 2018. Altogether, the nine so-called Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) cover 23 percent of the Baltic Sea waters. The new EBSAs were identified in Helsinki earlier in February 2018 during the Baltic EBSA workshop convened by the UN Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. More information is available here.

The nine new EBSAs in the Baltic Sea. Source: HELCOM

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Call for Papers: International Organizations Workshop

The International Organizations Interest Group (IOIG) of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) shall host its biennial Work-In-Progress Workshop, 15 March 2019, at Seton Hall School of Law (Newark, USA). Abstracts must relate to the study of international organizations, with one signature topic of particular note for law of the sea submissions being Beyond National Jurisdiction: Human Activities in the Oceans, Polar Regions, Cyberspace and Outer Space. Abstract submissions are welcome until 1 December 2018.

For further information see here.

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Guinea Bissau-EU: Sustainable Fishing Partnership Agreement signed

The European Union and Guinea-Bissau have signed a new Sustainable Fishing Partnership Agreement (SFPA) protocol. This protocol will allow the EU fleet to fish in Guinea Bissau waters for a duration of 5 years. The protocol foresees the transition from the current system based on vessel capacity to a system based on catch limits (TAC), applicable for the last three years of the agreement. The protocol also includes improved monitoring, thanks to the introduction of an Electronic Reporting System (ERS), which will become mandatory from the third year on. More information is available here. The protocol agreed to in 2011 may be found here.

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Call for Papers: International Law and Emerging Powers – New Policy Challenges in the Asia-Pacific

The Chinese (Taiwan) Society of International Law shall host an ILA-ASIL Asia-Pacific Research Forum, entitled,  International Law and Emerging Powers: New Policy Challenges in the Asia-Pacific, from 17-18 May 2019 at Howard Civil Service International House (Taipei, Taiwan). Numerous areas of international law suggested by the organizing committee would accommodate law of the sea papers. Paper proposals are welcome until 10 December 2018.

For more information and submission see here and here.

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EU/UK: Draft Withdrawal Agreement Reached at Negotiators’ Level

On 14 November 2018 the Draft Withdrawal Agreement and Outline of the Political Declaration on the Future Relationship were finalised and agreed at the negotiator level. This is now subject to legal verification, whereby the final agreement and declaration are subject to endorsement and adoption, respectively.

Arrangements relating to fishing opportunities during the transition period are found within Article 130. If an agreement on the future EU-UK relationship is not applicable by 31 December 2020, the single EU-UK customs territory forming part of the “backstop solution” (Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, Article 6) will exclude fishery and aquaculture products “unless an agreement on access to waters and fishing opportunities is applicable between the Union and the United Kingdom”. The Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration both highlight the commitment to “use their best endeavours to conclude and ratify such an agreement before 1 July 2020”.  The Protocol relating to the Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus preserves EU fisheries law for Sovereign Base Areas (Article 6), while the Protocol on Gibraltar establishes UK-Spain coordinating procedures for fisheries (Article 4).

See further the Joint Statement (14 Nov 2018), Déclaration par Michel Barnier and the European Commission recommendation to the European Council.

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Japan: coastal areas designated under Ramsar Convention

Japan has designated two coastal areas, Shizugawa-wan (Ramsar Site no. 2358) and Kasai Marine Park (Site no. 2357), as Wetlands of International Importance, while extending a third, Lower Maruyama River and the Surrounding Rice Paddies (Site no. 2055), in order to reinforce its conservation value. This designation took place under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat. More information is available here

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