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).
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.
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.
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”.
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.
The Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation has entered into force on 23 May 2018. This legally binding agreement was signed last year by the eight members of the Arctic Council. The purpose of this agreement is “to increase effectiveness and efficiency in the development of scientific knowledge about the Arctic”, namely by facilitating access to “civilian research infrastructure and facilities and logistical services”, to the “Identified Geographic Areas” and to “scientific information”. The document calls for each party to designate a “competent national authority” as a point of contact to facilitate communication between and among parties. The text of the agreement may be found here. More information about the signature may be found here (USA), here (Canada) and here (Russian Federation).
The special legal regime for the protection and conservation of marine turtles has entered into force on 22 May 2018. It aims to provide legal protection to any turtle that frequents the maritime zones under the jurisdiction of Cape Verde, as well as derived products. This regime establishes, among other “crimes against the marine turtles” (Art. 20), that penalties shall apply to the consumption of meat, eggs or any remains or parts of marine turtle. The law (Decreto-Legislativo n.º 1/2018), may be found here (in Portuguese).
The Government of Japan has approved (15 May 2018) a new Basic Plan on Ocean Policy. Since its first adoption in 2008 (English version here), the ocean policy has been reviewed every five years. In this third stage of the document, reference is made for the first time to an Arctic policy and targets are defined for Japan to become “a new oceanic state”. The “Maritime Domain Awareness” capacity is strengthened and this item receives an independent treatment. In the item “Comprehensive Maritime Security”, the document refers to the strengthening of the “Coast Guard System”. The document also highlights other goals, such asmethane hydrate development, the establishment of rules on the use of maritime zones and the improvement of the accuracy of resource evaluation. The official announcement of the approval of this document may be found here (video in Japanese). All the relevant documents of the approval process are here (in Japanese). The outline of the plan is here (in English).
The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules a Portuguese tonnage tax scheme. Under this scheme, maritime transport companies will pay taxes on the basis of the net tonnage (i.e. the size of the shipping fleet) operated in maritime transport activities rather than on the basis of their taxable profits. In addition, for certain more environmentally-friendly ships, companies can achieve an additional reduction of 10% to 20% of the tax base under the tonnage tax scheme. Moreover, a seafarer scheme exempts seafarers employed on vessels that are eligible under the tonnage tax scheme from paying personal income tax. It also allows them to pay reduced rates of contribution for social insurance. Both the tonnage tax and seafarer schemes will remain in force for ten years. More information is available here. The proposal of the scheme (Proposta de Lei 111/XIII) may be found here (in Portuguese).
The Norwegian Parliament (Storting) has called on the government to implement requirements and regulations for emissions from cruise ships and other maritime traffic in tourist resorts as well as other suitable means to ensure phasing-in of low-and-zero emissions solutions in the shipping industry by 2030. This includes introducing a zero emissions threshold for ferry ships and ferries in the World Heritage fjords as soon as it is technically feasible, and no later than 2026. The decision is part of a broader set of recommendations from the Energy and Environment Committee on the climate strategy for 2030 to cut Norwegian greenhouse gas emissions. Those recommendations (3 May 2018) may be found here (in Norwegian).
The European Commission (EC) has approved a proposal to transpose into EU legislation stronger measures to help the recovery of the Mediterranean swordfish (24 April 2018). The new regulation incorporates the International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) Recommendation 16-05 into EU law. This ICCAT Recommendation establishes a recovery plan that takes into account the specificities of different types of gear and fishing techniques. When implementing the recovery plan, the Union and Member States should undertake to promote coastal fishing activities and the use of selective fishing gear and techniques that reduce the environmental impact, including gear and techniques used in traditional and artisanal fisheries, thereby ensuring a fair standard of living for local fishing communities. That EC proposal may be found here.
Mandatory compliance with the USA Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP) became effective 1 January 2018, but shrimp and abalone inclusion was stayed until comparable traceability requirements for domestic aquaculture could be established. On 23 April 2018, the stay was lifted and thus shrimp and abalone compliance will be mandatory by 31 December 2018. According to NOAA, “The inclusion of shrimp – the largest US seafood import- and abalone in SIMP nearly doubles the volume and value of imported fish and fish products subject to its requirements, further leveling the playing field for U.S. fishermen, aquaculture producers, and seafood producers around the world who play by the rules”.
The Rotterdam District Court has condemned a shipping company for the illegal export of ships for scrapping. A set of related decisions dated 15 March 2018 has led to the company Seatrade being fined, and to a temporary professional ban issued against two of its executives. The Dutch public prosecutor considered as facts the sales of ships for demolition in India, Bangladesh and Turkey in 2012. One of the justifications for these decisions has been that the “harmful consequences of scrapping ships on the beaches of India and Bangladesh, in particular for the environment and health, are far-reaching.” (translated from the Dutch: “De schadelijke gevolgen van het slopen van schepen op de stranden van met name India en Bangladesh voor milieu en gezondheid, zijn verstrekkend”). These decisions were taken on the basis of Regulation (EC) Nr. 1013/2006 on the shipment of waste, which prohibits EU member-states from exporting hazardous waste to countries outside the OECD. The court interpreted Recital 35 of that Regulation, which states that “[i]t is necessary to ensure the safe and environmentally sound management of ship dismantling in order to protect human health and the environment” as encompassing ships of all flags fall under its scope. The cases may be found in the list below:
The President of Brazil has approved on 19 March 2018 the creation of environmentally protected areas surrounding two of its archipelagos, including the creation of two natural monuments (as per Art. 12 of Law No 9.985 of 18 July 2000). The Decree No 9.312 creates the environmental protection area of the Tridade e Martim Vaz archipelago, creating also the natural monument of the Trindade e Martim Vaz islands and of the Columbia mount; it may be found here (in Portuguese). The Decree Nº 9.313 creates the environmental protection area of the São Pedro e São Paulo archipelago, creating also the natural monument of the São Pedro e São Paulo archipelago; it may be found here (in Portuguese). Whilst economic activities, such as sustainable fisheries, will be allowed within the environmental protection areas, the natural monuments will be areas of “integral protection”. The protected areas encompass the archipelagos’ Exclusive Economic Zones (c. 40 million hectares each). The protection of these areas will allow Brazil to accomplish Goal 11 of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
The European Commission (Task Force for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50 TEU) has published on 19 March 2018The Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community. The document highlights the progress made in the negotiation round with the UK of 16-19 March 2018, with reference to a previous draft of 28 February 2018 (available here). As stated by the UK’s Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, there has been an agreement on “specific safeguards when it comes to annual fishing negotiations”, adding that through 2020 the UK “will be negotiating fishing opportunities as an independent coastal state, deciding who can access our waters and on what terms”. The Draft Agreement may be found here.
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP, also known as the TPP11) was signed by 11 states, 8 March 2018, in Santiago, Chile. The agreement retains the contents of the original Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but includes 20 agreed suspensions, mainly in the area of intellectual property. The annexed Joint Ministerial Statement by CPTPP signatories, “expressed their determination to complete their domestic processes to bring the Agreement into force expeditiously”. Without claiming to be exhaustive, Chapter 20, Environment, is of interest to the law of the sea given its inclusion of ship-source pollution and marine capture fisheries.
On the 2 March 2018, the Russian Government signed the directive (Распоряжение от 2 марта 2018 года №352-р) establishing the Novosibirsk Islands Federal Nature Sanctuary. Found within the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), the sanctuary covers “the Novosibirsk Islands Archipelago and adjoining waters (a section of inland sea and the territorial sea of the Russian Federation with a width of 12 nautical miles adjoining the territory of the Novosibirsk Islands Archipelago)”. This is in accordance with Federal Law of March 14, 1995 No. 33-FZ “On Specially Protected Natural Territories”.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, which does not have diplomatic relations with the Republic of Cyprus, has objected (11 February 2018) to the “Greek Cypriot Administration’s hydrocarbon-related activities in the Eastern Mediterranean” which are said to be “in disregard of the inalienable rights on natural resources of the Turkish Cypriot people, who are the co-owners of the Island”. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has stated (13 February 2018) that “as long as the Greek Cypriot side continues to take unilateral steps that disregard our legitimate rights over the Island’s natural resources” it would take “reciprocal steps”. The President of the Republic Cyprus has reaffirmed (21 February 2018) that its intentions are to “to fully explore and exploit the hydrocarbon potential in its exclusive economic zone”.
This exchange follows the issuance by the Turkish Naval Force of a NAVTEX message which prevented a ENI-owned drillship from accessing Block 3 due to military training set to occur in the area. The Cyprus Joint Rescue Coordination Center has responded (27 January 2018) with another NAVTEX message, which described Turkey’s activity as “unauthorised and illegal”. The President of the European Council has meanwhile referred (23 February 2018) to “Turkey’s illegal violations in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the Aegean” and reiterated support for “the sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources”. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece also criticised (6 March 2018) Turkey’s position, saying that Turkey “cannot pursue an aggressive foreign policy, not respecting international law and choosing to ignore or circumvent the Law of the Sea”.
Cyprus offshore exploration blocks. Source: Republic of Cyprus, Ministry of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism (Twitter)
Following previous coverage (here), Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Timor-Leste’s Deputy Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Boundary Delimitation, signed the Treaty Between Australia and the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste Establishing Their Maritime Boundaries in the Timor Sea,6 March 2018, at the United Nations Headquarters. The agreement may be found here.
For further information, see the respective press releases of Timor-Leste (2), Australia (2) and the PCA. A video of the proceedings is available here.
Maritime Boundaries in the Timor Sea. Source: Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
On the 14 February 2018 the Philippines Presidential Spokesperson issued a statement objecting to the submissions by China of names for undersea features in the “Benham Rise”, submitted to the Sub-Committee on Undersea Feature Names (SCUFN) of the International Hydrographic Organization. The Philippines will not recognize these names. During a public hearing of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, 26 February 2018, a reason for the objection was the violation of the Philippines’ sovereign rights, resulting from the lack of consent given to undertake the hydrographic surveys at the basis of the submissions.
For more information see the press releases, here, here, here, here, and SCUFN here. At the time of writing, a video of the hearing was available:
The Seychelles announced two new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) covering 210,000 square kilometers (81,000 square miles), 21 February 2018. The MPAs were created as part of the first ever debt-for-conservation deal, designed by The Nature Conservancy. MPAs includes 74,400 sq. km surrounding the Aldabra Group, and 136,000 sq. km between the Amirantes Group and Fortune Bank. $21.6 million of sovereign debt was purchased at a discount, with repayments now made at more favourable terms to the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT).
The President of the Lebanese Parliament has rejected the mediation of the United States of America in the issue with Israel concerning maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean Sea. His declaration may be found here (in Arabic). This follows the exclusive licensing of two oil blocks in a disputed area to a private consortium by the Lebanese Minister of Energy. Yet Israel maintains claims to oil deposits in that region as well. The USA Secretary of State has on this matter affirmed that this “is an extremely important issue to Lebanon” and that “it’s important to Israel as well, to come to some agreement so that private companies can go to work offshore and determine what, in fact, might be available in terms of natural resource development”. One of the members of the consortium that has been licensed by Lebanon to explore blocks in the disputed area affirms that they “are fully aware of the Israeli-Lebanese border dispute in the southern part of the block that covers only very limited area (less than 8% of the block’s surface)”. Their press release may be found here.
The blocks awarded to the consortium of Total (operator, 40%), ENI (40%) and Novatek (20%) in the frame of the 1st offshore licensing round, launched by the Lebanese government in January 2017. (source: http://www.total.com)
The UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) has published a POSTnote, entitled, UK Fisheries Management, 21 February 2018. The POSTnote focuses on marine capture fisheries, including future challenges.
Maritime boundary negotiations between Vanuatu and France, which include an unresolved dispute on the sovereignty over the Matthew Island and the Hunter Island, and their respective 190 000 sq km EEZ, are under way. Those islands are claimed by Vanuatu as part of its southernmost Tafea Province since 1929, but France claims them to be part of New Caledonia since 1976 (i.e. prior to Vanuatu’s independence in 1980). According to Vanuatu’s Prime Minister, New Caledonia’s Front de Libération Nationale Kanak et Socialiste party coalition has now recognized the islands as part of “Vanuatu National Heritage”, opening the door for “dialogue and negotiation between Vanuatu Government and the Government of France on maritime boundaries”. These negotiations are set to happen amidst debate around the referendum on the independence of New Caledonia, scheduled May 2018. The full statement of Vanuatu’s Prime Minister may be found here.
Map of New Caledonia and Vanuatu, Oceania, featuring Mathhew and Hunter Islands under New Caledonia’s jurisdiction. (Wikimedia Commons)
The United States of America, together with the Russian Federation, have proposed a system of two-way routes for vessels to follow in the Bering Strait and Bering Sea. This joint proposal features the establishment of six two-way routes and six precautionary areas. The proposed two-way routes will be voluntary for all domestic and international ships. No additional aids to navigation are being proposed to mark the recommended two-way routes and the routing measures do not limit commercial fishing or subsistence activities. More information is available here
India and the ASEAN countries have agreed to set up a mechanism on maritime cooperation to counter the common challenges they face in the maritime domain. The information was confirmed at a press briefing press briefing. This intention follows the Delhi declaration of the ASEAN-INDIA commemorative summit, which reaffirmed “the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, stability, maritime safety and security, freedom of navigation and overflight in the region, and other lawful uses of the seas and unimpeded lawful maritime commerce and to promote peaceful resolutions of disputes” and the support of the signatories to the “full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea (DOC)”. That declaration may be found here.
During the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, a multi-stakeholder partnership, Friends of Ocean Action, was announced, 25 January 2018, with the objective “to help shape global action to deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goal 14”. For more information, see here.
At the same time, the Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, announced a High-level Panel on Building a Sustainable Ocean Economy, “which will be made up of heads of state and government from a broad range of coastal states, including developing countries”. For more information, see here.
On the 26 January 2018, the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China released a white paper, entitled, China’s Arctic Policy. China defines itself as a “Near-Arctic State” before setting out its policy goals.
The 14th Regular Session of the Western & Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) adopted a series of Conservation and Management Measures (CMMs), including CMM 2017-02, Conservation and Management Measure on minimum standards for Port State Measures, issued the 7 December 2017. Bar the provisional application of CMM 2017-01 (1 January 2018), the CMMs are set to enter into force 6 February 2018.
A master of a coastal trading vessel was convicted and fined in Australia’s Cairns Magistrates Court for being in charge of a ship that entered a shipping exclusion area in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The master pleaded guilty to entering an exclusion zone near the Turtle Group of Islands, 28km northwest of Cape Flattery, in November 2015. Under the Marine Park legislation, ships must only travel in designated shipping areas or general use zones to protect the marine environment, and commercial ships are monitored for their compliance. More information about this case may be found here.
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).
The Ship Pollution Control Implementation Plan of Hainan Province, implemented 3 November 2017 to 3 December 2018, will include a port state inspection campaign. This will be focused upon compliance with the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973 as modified by the Protocol of 1978, Annex VI and the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments.
The Argentine National Sanitary Authorities (SENASA) has introduced Resolution 693-E/2017, which entered into force on 1 November 2017. This Resolution outlines a control system for the approval of holds/tanks of vessels and barges destined to export grains, its products and by-products. Specific criteria for when to object to or reject holds or tanks, such as the presence of live insects, loose rust scale, excessive humidity, etc., are included. This Resolution shall be applicable to all river and maritime ports. It will initially be in operation for a trial period of 1 year. The Resolution is available here (in Spanish) or here (English translation).
The Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig dismissed on 28 November 2017 the actions brought by the towns of Cuxhaven and Otterndorf, as well as by Elbe and coastal fishermen, against the planning approval decisions for the fairway adaptation in the lower and outer Elbe. The court said that while assessing the appeals it decided to give priority to the public interest stemming from the deepened Elbe waterway. The project, aimed at adjusting the navigation channel on the lower and outer Elbe river, would enable the Port of Hamburg to accommodate mega ships. Around 130 kilometers of the river is to be dredged, enabling container ships with a 14.5 meter draft to reach the port. More information may be found here (in German).
Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/2178, 22 November 2017, amends Regulation (EU) No 468/2010 establishing the EU list of vessels engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. As with previous amendments, the Union list is compiled from RFMO/A listed IUU fishing vessels (Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008, art. 30) and does not as yet make use of the unilateral listing procedure (Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008, art. 27(1)).
For more information see here (citation: OJ L 307, 23.11.2017, p. 14–24).
The Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment has announced a future ban on sewage waste deposits from ships within 12 nautical miles from land along the Norwegian coast and around Svalbard. The Minister has said that the regulations for such deposits will be stricter and that they will apply to all kinds of vessels, regardless of their size and how many persons they are certified to take. This will translate into a change of the requirements for sewage discharges from ships to the north and west of Lindesnes by the end of 2018. More information may be found here (in English, only on measures to combat marine litter) and, with more detail, here (in Norwegian). The letter of the Minister may be found here (in Norwegian).
On the 24 November 2017, the President of Mexico signed the Revillagigedo National Park Decree, establishing the Revillagigedo Archipelago National Park of approximately 14.8 million hectares. Fishing, resource extraction and construction will be restricted.
For more information see the official press release here and Pew Trust coverage here.
The provincial court (Audiencia Provincial) of A Coruña, in Spain, has awarded the Spanish state EUR 1.6 billion in damages over the 2002 Prestige oil spill. The court also said the regional government of Galicia must be compensated EUR 1.8 million; France, which was also affected, will be compensated EUR 61 million. Various private parties were awarded compensation as well. The sum will have to be paid by the captain of the ship and the insurance (The London Steamship Owners Mutual Insurance Association) or by the owners of the ship (Mare Shipping Inc.); the award also mentions the obligation of the IOPC Funds to compensate for damages up to the limits established in the applicable treaty. The text of the award, dated 15 November 2017, may be found here (in Spanish).
Update (21 Nov. 2017): The London P&I Club has reacted to the Prestige judgment, assessing the claims and presenting the next steps ahead. The note may be found here.
The US House of Representatives’ Homeland Security Committee has passed legislation aimed at addressing cybersecurity concerns at the country’s ports. The legislation’s main goals are to improve information sharing and collaboration in facing up to cybersecurity risks at ports in the US. The bill requires the Department of Homeland Security to facilitate increased information sharing about cybersecurity among maritime interests, namely to establish voluntary reporting guidelines for maritime-related cybersecurity risks and incidents. It also requires the Coast Guard to direct each Area Maritime Security Advisory Committee to facilitate the sharing of information about, and development of plans to address, port-specific cybersecurity vulnerabilities. More information is available 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.
The new Queensland Government’s Sustainable Fisheries Strategy (2017-2027) will require licensed fishing charter operators to have vessel tracking by 2020, with a priority to install units on net, line and crab commercial fishing vessels by the end of 2018. As a consequence of this measure, commercial fishing vessels in that Australian state will have to be fitted with GPS tracking devices in order to monitor the sustainability of fish stocks. More information is available here.
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.
Through a series of confidential meetings with a Conciliation Commission in The Hague, Timor-Leste and Australia have reached agreement on the complete text of a draft treaty which delimits the maritime boundary between them in the Timor Sea. This draft treaty also addresses the legal status of the Greater Sunrise gas field, the establishment of a Special Regime for Greater Sunrise, a pathway to the development of the resource, and the sharing of the resulting revenue. The Parties will now pursue their domestic approval processes in order to proceed with the signing of the Treaty. More information on this treaty is available here.
The Council of the European Union has adopted conclusions on Paris Agreement and is preparing for the upcoming UNFCCC meetings. Among other statements, the EU is calling on the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to “further accelerate its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the maritime sector and to adopt in April 2018 an ambitious initial IMO Strategy on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships including further measures in line with the IMO roadmap and the long term temperature goals of the Paris Agreement”. The COP23 UN Climate conference takes place in Bonn, Germany, on 6-7 November 2017. It will be the moment to develop detailed guidelines for implementation. The EU Council document may be found here.