Category Archives: State Practice

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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South Africa: First vessel detention under work in fishing convention

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.

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China: extension and upgrade of the domestic ECA proposed

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).

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EU-China Blue Partnership for the Oceans

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).

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