Following public consultations, the Government of New Caledonia adopted on 14 August 2018 three decrees relating to the Coral Sea Nature Park.
The first introduces reserves in the Coral Sea Nature Park at Chesterfield, Bellona, Entrecasteaux, Pétrie and Astrolabe. 7,000km2 is designated réserve intégrale, whereby no access or human activity is allowed, except in the context of approved scientific research. 21,000km2 is designated réserves naturelles, whereby access is subject to governmental authorization and fishing, hunting, camping, picnics or water sports are prohibited. The second decree regulates professional tourism in the area, with a further decree reportedly being prepared for private pleasure craft, yachts, charter vessels and those who transit the maritime area. Finally, the third decree concerns adoption of a Park Management Plan.
For further information see the press releases here and here. Note, currently listed under France an independence referendum is scheduled for 4 November 2018.
Following the previously reported entry into force, the first fishing vessel detention under the port state inspection provisions of the ILO Convention (No. 188) concerning work in the fishing sector occurred in June 2018, Cape Town, South Africa. Steps for rectification and a detention fee were required before the vessel was permitted to leave.
For more information, see the ILO press release.
The Ministry of Transport of China has published (9 July 2018) an opinion letter on the draft “Ship Emission Control Area Adjustment Plan”. The draft plan proposes the extension of China’s domestic emission control areas (ECA) to the entire coastline. Accordingly, the “Implementation Plan on Domestic Emission Control Areas in Waters of the Pearl River Delta, the Yangtze River Delta and Bohai Rim (Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei)” could be made applicable to any areas within 12 nautical miles of the coast, as well as to Hainan waters. The draft plan aims at “accelerating the construction of an ecological civilization” and could become effective as from 2019. Under this draft plan, ships sailing and docking in the ECA should use fuels with a SOX content of 0.5% or less; from January 1, 2020, ships berthing in the ECA should use fuel of 0.1% or less. For Hainan waters, the draft plan mentions stricter standards to be applied from January 1, 2020, stating that fuels used in navigation and berthing should both be at or under the 0.1% threshold. In addition, the draft plan also aims at limiting NOX emissions, strenghtening the applicable 2016 standard (see Limits and measurement methods for exhaust pollutants from marine engines (China I, II)). The opinion letter may be found here (in Chinese). More information is available here (in Chinese) and here (in Chinese).
During the 20th EU-China Summit, 16 July 2018 (Beijing, China) the European Union and China have signed an ocean partnership agreement, entitled, Blue Partnership for the Oceans: towards better ocean governance, sustainable fisheries and a thriving maritime economy. China had expressed its interest in such a partnership at previous high-level dialogues on oceans affairs (2017).
See further, the EU press release and Joint Statement (para. 33).
The fifth negotiating session between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco for the renewal of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement and its Protocol concluded 20 July 2018. Both parties will now proceed with their respective legislative processes to ratify the agreement. The Moroccan fishing zone includes waters in the Sahara region (art. 1). Following the previously reported CJEU Decision on this issue, the European Commission states the text that is negotiated provides for strict provisions on the geographical and social distribution of benefits. The Sahrawi delegate minister for Europe responded “neither Western Sahara nor the waters adjacent to it are part of Morocco or its exclusive economic zone”.
For more information see the press releases of the EU (2), Morocco and Sahara Press Service.
The government of the United Kingdom has launched (8 June 2018) a consultation seeking views on plans to designate 41 Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) around the UK and views on proposed new features to be added to 12 existing MCZs. The new sites will reach right the way across England’s coastline – from the South West to Berwick on the Scottish border, with two sites in Northern Irish offshore waters. No new activities deemed damaging will be allowed to take place in these areas. Existing harmful activities will be minimised or stopped to allow important habitats to be restored over time. The proposed network will cover approximately 11,700 km2, bringing the total area of protection to over 32,000 square km. The consultation, which terminates on 20 July 2018, is held here. More information is found here.