Category Archives: International Organizations

FAO: The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2018

The FAO published its The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2018, 9 July 2018. SOFIA reports provide a “comprehensive, objective and global view of capture fisheries and aquaculture, including associated policy issues” (FAO). Notably, in 2015 fish stocks within biologically sustainable levels decreased to 66.9%, whilst stocks fished at biologically unsustainable levels increased to 33.1%. Among the FAO’s statistical areas, the Mediterranean and Black Sea had the highest percentage of unsustainable stocks, at 62.2%.

For further information, see the full report, or SOFIA 2018: in brief. Other languages are available here.

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Arctic Council: Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation enters into force

The Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation has entered into force on 23 May 2018. This legally binding agreement was signed last year by the eight members of the Arctic Council. The purpose of this agreement is “to increase effectiveness and efficiency in the development of scientific knowledge about the Arctic”, namely by facilitating access to “civilian research infrastructure and facilities and logistical services”, to the “Identified Geographic Areas” and to “scientific information”. The document calls for each party to designate a “competent national authority” as a point of contact to facilitate communication between and among parties. The text of the agreement may be found here. More information about the signature may be found here (USA), here (Canada) and here (Russian Federation).

Date: 02/27/2018 Description: Map of area covered by the Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation - State Dept Image

The “Identified Geographic Areas” of the Agreement. Source: USA Department of State.

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IMO: Special Event on Ports + World Port Security Summit

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is hosting a couple of events on port security. The 11 June 2018 special event on ports will maintain the focus of IMO’s World Maritime Day theme for 2017 “Connecting Ships, Ports and People” through a programme of presentations (the outline of the sessions is available here). This will be followed by a symposium on port security operations (12-13 June), co-hosted with the International Organization of Airport & Seaport Police (INTERPORTPOLICE). This second event will focus on the exchange of best practices on port security and law enforcement. More information about these events may be found in the IMO Circular Letter No. 3815 and also here (IMO) or here (INTERPORTPOLICE).

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EU: Commission approves Portuguese tonnage tax and seafarer scheme

The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules a Portuguese tonnage tax scheme. Under this scheme, maritime transport companies will pay taxes on the basis of the net tonnage (i.e. the size of the shipping fleet) operated in maritime transport activities rather than on the basis of their taxable profits. In addition, for certain more environmentally-friendly ships, companies can achieve an additional reduction of 10% to 20% of the tax base under the tonnage tax scheme. Moreover, a seafarer scheme exempts seafarers employed on vessels that are eligible under the tonnage tax scheme from paying personal income tax. It also allows them to pay reduced rates of contribution for social insurance. Both the tonnage tax and seafarer schemes will remain in force for ten years. More information is available here. The proposal of the scheme (Proposta de Lei 111/XIII) may be found here (in Portuguese).

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Paris MoU: letter of warning on new maximum limits for sulphur in ships issued

The Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (Paris MoU) agreed to issue a “Letter of Warning”, starting 1 January 2019, to ensure compliance with the new maximum limits for sulphur in ships fuel oil set by the IMO and which will enter into force a year after that date. The approval of this “information campaign” occurred at the organization’s 51st Committee meeting (7-11 May 2018) where the organization also approved the questionnaire for the Concentrated Inspection Campaign (CIC) on MARPOL Annex VI to be carried out jointly with the Tokyo MoU. More information on the outcome of this meeting may be found here.

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EU: proposal on recovery plan for Mediterranean swordfish approved by the EC

The European Commission (EC) has approved a proposal to transpose into EU legislation stronger measures to help the recovery of the Mediterranean swordfish (24 April 2018). The new regulation incorporates the International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) Recommendation 16-05 into EU law. This ICCAT Recommendation establishes a recovery plan that takes into account the specificities of different types of gear and fishing techniques. When implementing the recovery plan, the Union and Member States should undertake to promote coastal fishing activities and the use of selective fishing gear and techniques that reduce the environmental impact, including gear and techniques used in traditional and artisanal fisheries, thereby ensuring a fair standard of living for local fishing communities. That EC proposal may be found here.

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UNECE: “Inland Navigation in a Global Setting” declaration adopted

Ministers of member states of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe have adopted a declaration entitled Inland Navigation in a Global Setting. This adoption took place at the International Ministerial Conference on Inland Water, on 18 April 2018. The declaration sets forth a number of strategic actions to improve the competitive position of inland waterways across the globe with the aim of creating a sustainable future for inland navigation. The declaration stresses, among other things, the need for an appropriate regulatory frameworks, and the role that the United Nations Conventions for the sector can play in developing them. The declaration may be found here and more information on the subject may be found here.

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