The member states of the informal group “Arctic-five” (Canada, USA, Russia, Norway, and Greenland/Denmark), together with representatives of other states (Iceland, Japan, South Korea, China and the European Union) have reached agreement on a legally binding international agreement that will protect nearly three million square kilometers of the Central Arctic Ocean from unregulated fishing. The initial term of the agreement is 16 years, after which it will automatically be extended every five years unless a country objects or until science-based fisheries quotas and rules are put in place. The NGO Ocean Conservancy has referred to this as an example of the precautionary approach. This accord comes two years after a previously set moratorium. Evidence of this new agreement may be found here: (Canada) (Norway) (EU).
Category Archives: International Organizations
The UNESCO has published the Global Ocean Science Report. This document assesses for the first time the status and trends in ocean science capacity around the world. The report offers a global record of who, how, and where ocean science is conducted. According to the organization, this is the first collective attempt to systematically highlight opportunities as well as capacity gaps to advance international collaboration in ocean science and technology. The report may be found in all of the UN official languages here.
The European Commission has approved the prolongation of various Belgian support measures for maritime transport. The scheme encourages shipping companies to register their ships in Europe and so ensure higher social, environmental and safety standards. Belgium has committed to a number of changes to its scheme to prevent any discrimination between shipping companies and registries of different European Economic Area (EEA) States and to avoid undue competition distortions. The Belgian authorities have also committed to extend the benefit of tonnage tax to all eligible ships that fly an EEA flag. More information is available here.
On the 26 October 2017, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has issued the compliance panel report on the revised US “dolphin-safe” tuna labeling measure, arising from DS381: United States — Measures Concerning the Importation, Marketing and Sale of Tuna and Tuna Products. The 2016 Tuna Measures (USA) was found consistent with the requirements set forth in Article 2.1 of the TBT Agreement and justified under Article XX of the GATT 1994.
The European Commission is has warned Vietnam about the risk of it being identified as a non-cooperating country. The decision highlights that Vietnam is not doing enough to fight illegal fishing. It identifies shortcomings, such as the lack of an effective sanctioning system to deter IUU fishing activities and a lack of action to address illegal fishing activities conducted by Vietnamese vessels in waters of neighbouring countries, including Pacific Small Island Developing States. Furthermore, the EC argues that Vietnam has a poor system to control landings of fish that is processed locally before being exported to international markets, including the EU. More information is available here.
Following the sinking of the oil tanker “AGIA ZONI II” off Piraeus, on 10 September 2017, Greece has requested for assistance to the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC). As a result two experts have been mobilised for a mission in Athens, Greece in the framework of the Mediterranean Assistance Unit (MAU). They will provide technical support on sunken oil assessment and removal techniques and efficient oil removal from sandy beaches. More information is available here.