Category Archives: State Practice

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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Baltic Sea: maritime boundary agreement between Denmark and Poland reached

Denmark and Poland have agreed on a maritime boundary that, once it enters into force, will delimit the Continental Shelfs and the Exclusive Economic Zones of the two countries in the Baltic Sea, south of Bornholm. The disputed area is approximately 3.600 km2. It is the last outstanding delimitation in the area of Bornholm. The maritime boundaries between Bornholm and Sweden were settled in 1984 and between Bornholm and Germany in 1988. The joint press statement may be found here and here.

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UK: Fisheries Bill first reading

The UK Government has introduced to the UK House of Commons the Fisheries Bill (Bill 278), its first reading being held 25 October 2018. As summarized in the Explanatory Notes (para. 1), “[t]he Fisheries Bill (the Bill) will provide the legal framework for the United Kingdom to operate as an independent coastal state under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS) after the UK has left the European Union (EU) and the Common Fisheries Policy (the CFP)”.

For more information see the Fisheries Bill (as introduced)Explanatory Notes, Delegated Powers Memorandum and press release.

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Arctic: Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean signed

On the 3 October 2018, the United States, Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, the European Union, Iceland, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Kingdom of Norway, the People’s Republic of China, and the Russian Federation signed the Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean (CAOF Agreement). The agreement covers approximately 2.8 million square kilometers and will establish and operate a Joint Program of Scientific Research and Monitoring (art. 4). Unregulated fishing in the high seas of the central Arctic Ocean is prohibited for 16 years following entry into force (arts. 3, 11, 13). Sedentary species are not included (art. 1).

See further, the CAOF Agreement, and statements by the EU, USA and Russia.

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Franco-UK Agreement on Scallop Fishing in the Bay of Seine

Altercations between French and UK scallop fishers in the Bay of Seine (French EEZ) resurfaced on the 27 August 2018 (the “scallop wars”). The incident arose out of a failure to renew a bilateral agreement between French and UK fishermen before the start of the 2018 scallop fishing season. Consensus could not be reached upon whether to include UK vessels under 15 metres long within the industry agreement. Following a series of meetings, industry agreement was reached 17 September 2018 and endorsed by the respective French and UK ministries.

For further information see the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food communiqués and the prior statement of the UK Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

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France (New Caledonia): Three Coral Sea Nature Park decrees adopted

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.

Coral Sea Nature Park

For further information see the press releases here and here. Note, currently listed under France an independence referendum is scheduled for 4 November 2018.

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