The FAO Compliance Agreement and the UN Fish Stocks Agreement are supplemented by the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. Together, these three instruments provide the framework for future actions concerning fisheries, particularly as regards high seas fishing. Furthermore, as they were negotiated over a broadly similar time frame, many of the negotiators were the same resulting in a high level consistency among them. The FAO Compliance Agreement was completed prior to the UN Fish Stocks Agreement, and some of the provisions in the two overlap. However, there are some important differences. Firstly, the UN Fish Stocks Agreement only addresses straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks (with some exceptions) whereas the FAO Compliance Agreement applies to all high seas fishing. Secondly, while there is a parallel obligation in the UN Fish Stocks Agreement to establish a record of fishing vessels, and to make the information available on request, only the Compliance Agreement provides for the systematic exchange of information regarding high seas fishing vessels to which the Agreement applies.
The main obligation for a country accepting the Agreement will be first to exercise its responsibility over vessels flying its flag, and second to establish a record of fishing vessels and to provide the information required under the Agreement with respect to those vessels. The principal benefit to participants will come from the availability of information regarding vessels authorized to fish on the high seas, which will lead to an increased ability to identify those vessels fishing without permission. This will be particularly important in light of the expanded powers that countries will acquire under the UN Fish Stocks Agreement. As these Agreements become increasingly effective, all participants will duly benefit.
- Date / journal vol no.
- 24 November 1993