Category Archives: State Practice

Norway: Supreme Court decides on catch of snow crab on the Norwegian continental shelf

The Supreme Court of Norway has rejected the appeals of a Russian captain and a Latvian shipping company that was convicted in the Court of Appeal for having caught snow crab without a Norwegian permit. The catch took place in the fish protection zone at Svalbard, on the Norwegian continental shelf. The Supreme Court stated that the snow crab is a sedentary species within the meaning of the UNCLOS, which the coastal state of Norway, under international law, has the exclusive right to exploit. It also understood that the Svalbard Treaty does not prevent penalising the person who catches without permission and that this applies regardless of nationality. The verdict of 14 February 2019 may be found here (in Norwegian).

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Argentina: MPA Yaganes and Namuncurá approved

The Senate of Argentina has approved the creation of two new Marine Protected Areas (MPA), Yaganes and Namuncurá-Banco Burdwood II. These areas are located in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Argentina. Yaganes is approximately 69 thousand km2, while Namuncurá – Banco Burdwood II covers more than 32 thousand km2. The respective legal text (Ley 27490), published 17 December 2018, can be found here (Spanish). The press releases from the Government of Argentina may be found here (Spanish) and here (Spanish). More information about these areas may be found here.

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Location of the National Marine Park of Yaganes and the National Marine Reserves of Namuncurá – Banco Burdwood II. Source: Wildlife Conservation Society

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Singapore: UNCLOS Article 298 Declaration submitted

The Singapore Government on 12 December 2018 filed a declaration under Article 298(1)(a) of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). This declaration means that other States Parties to UNCLOS cannot unilaterally commence third party arbitration or adjudication against Singapore in respect of maritime boundary disputes. Singapore likewise cannot unilaterally commence third party arbitration or adjudication against other States Parties for such disputes. A statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore on the matter may be found 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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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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